April is National Facial Protection Month! I know, break out the chips and salsa! Six national organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Academy for Sports Medicine, are teaming up to get the word out about oral and facial injuries. These groups estimate 5 million teeth will be knocked out or injured this year, and $500 million will be spent to replace or repair them. If that doesn’t grab your attention, what about a recent study that found your child has a 3 in 10 chance of one of these injuries before the age of 14?
I see sports or activity-related dental injuries all the time, and they are very tough on the child and parent. Once a tooth is broken, the orthodontists, pediatric dentists and endodontists can go to work, but the tooth is never the same. Prevention is the key to oral and facial injuries, and that means at practice as well as games. Pediatric dentists and dentists can make mouth guards in the office for sports. I keep my mouth guards at an artificially low cost so I can compete directly with the non-custom store-bought brands. With a custom fit mouth guard, it’s comfortable so kids can breathe, yell and drink with them in. I remember one lacrosse game where my son had to recount every play on the way home, all with his mouth guard in he forgot to take off!
Here are the tips from National Facial Protection Month (the parentheses are my opinion):
1) Mouth guards should be worn in all contact or collision sports.
2) Helmets should always be worn when biking or playing football, softball, baseball, lacrosse (women too) and hockey as well as during activities such as skateboarding, riding scooters, or other physical activities that pose a risk of concussion. Helmets (NOT mouth guards) absorb the energy of an impact.
3) Protective eyewear and helmets should be worn per the standards of ASTM International, a voluntary standard-setting organization (For example, a youth lacrosse helmet won’t work for HS play).
4) Be alert, even as a spectator. Alert spectators can avoid foul baseballs and flying hockey pucks.
If you DO knock out a permanent tooth? Forget the milk and put the tooth back into the socket! Then call me immediately!
Greg Evans cell 970-481-6728