Impact of Sports Injuries on Kids

Dr. Baker Chambliss, Your Hoover Pediatric Dentist, Discusses Sports Injury Prevention and More

Did you know that orofacial injuries sustained by student athletes are estimated to cost up to $1.8 billion dollars annually?

Costs from orofacial trauma can accrue throughout the patient’s lifetime after the initial injury and may include restorative, endodontic, prosthodontic, implants or surgical treatment(s). And, these costs do not reflect other considerations, such as the time parents lose at work when caring for their injured child or a child’s time lost at school when they are being treated for injury. Pain and psychological effects may also be associated with a sports-related orofacial injury. So, what can we do to prevent these injuries and lessen their incidence?

Dr.  Baker Chambliss still strongly encourages parents and children to engage in sports, but to do so with oral protection. Sports are a great outlet for exercise, lessons in team-building, competition, friendship and survival. However, nearly every sport has a risk of falls, collisions, contact with hard surfaces, and contact from sports-related equipment. Sports accidents reportedly account for 10 to 39 percent of all dental injuries in children.

As a pediatric dentist, the American Academy of Dentistry encourages parent and patient education on sports related injuries through the following policies and guidelines:

  1. Encourage parents to have their child participate in preventive practices instituted in youth, high school and college football, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey, and wrestling (for wrestlers wearing braces).
  2. Require an ASTM-certified face protector be utilized for youth participating in baseball and softball activities.
  3. Mandate the use of properly-fitted mouthguards in other organized sporting activities that carry risk of orofacial injury.
  4. Have coaches/administrators of organized sports consult a dentist with expertise in orofacial injuries prior to initiating practices for a sporting season, for recommendations for immediate management of sports-related injuries (e.g., avulsed teeth).
  5. Continue research in development of a comfortable, efficacious, and cost-effective sports mouthguard to facilitate more widespread use of this proven protective device.
  6. Dentists of all specialties, including pediatric and general dentists, should provide education to parents and patients regarding prevention of orofacial injuries as part of the anticipatory guidance discussed during dental visits.
  7. Prescribe, fabricate, or provide referral for mouthguard protection for patients at increased risk for orofacial trauma.
  8. Educate Third-party payors to realize the benefits of mouthguards for the prevention and protection from orofacial sports-related injuries and, furthermore, encourage them to improve access to these services.
  9. As pediatric dentists, partner with other dentists and child health professionals, school administrators, legislators, and community sports organizations to promote the broader use of mouthguards.
  10. Teach dental students fabrication of custom-fitting mouthguards, specific to pediatric dentistry.

Learn more about the statistics related to student athlete orofacial injuries and protection here: AAPD Sports Policies and Guidelines.

We participate as implementers of this policy and hope you will consult with us for your student athlete’s orofacial protection needs.

Medplex Pediatric Dentistry serves as a top rated pediatric dentist for Alabaster, Birmingham, Hoover, Helena, and Pelham, AL.