Do not risk your smile in victory shot

Do not risk your smile in victory shot

By: Dr. Nurul Aliaa Ahmad Fauzi

Participating in contact sports like football, hockey, and karate (just to name a few) brings exhilarating experiences but also introduces potential risks, particularly in the form of oral injuries – an aspect that demands attention and preventive measures.

In these high-energy sports, the likelihood of unexpected impacts such as blows, kicks, or collisions with hard surfaces (and your opponents!) is considerable. Notably, around 80 percent of these impacts affect the upper teeth, making them highly vulnerable.

Studies reveal a concerning trend regarding dental injuries, especially among children engaged in sports. Reports suggest that sports-related accidents contribute significantly, accounting for 10-39 percent of dental injuries among school children. Boys between eight and eleven years old appear more susceptible to these mishaps compared to girls.

Furthermore, there’s a notable gap in knowledge among educators regarding how to handle dental injuries in school settings, potentially complicating the response to such incidents.

These statistics emphasize the necessity for proactive measures to reduce the risk of dental trauma during sports activities. Among these measures, the use of mouthguards emerges as a critical tool in preserving dental health during athletic endeavours.

Consider this scenario – what unfolds when mouthguards slip our minds? The outcomes are far from favourable. From knocked-out teeth to a lifetime of dental visits, the repercussions encompass potential issues like periodontal disease. Additionally, individuals may experience fractured or chipped teeth, amplifying their dental expenses. Addressing these problems typically entails costly dental procedures such as root canals, crowns, or implants, creating a substantial financial burden.

Mouthguards vary in types and functionalities. Custom-made variants stand as the pinnacle of protection, albeit at a higher cost, offering unparalleled fit and safeguarding. ‘Boil and Bite’ mouthguards, which can be shaped at home, provide a convenient middle ground. For those seeking budget-friendly options, pre-formed mouthguards are available off-the-shelf, though they might not offer the same level of protection as custom-made or ‘boil and bite’ options. Nevertheless, their shared mission remains unchanged – to preserve the integrity of your smile.

Moreover, individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment, particularly those with braces, encounter added complexity in the event of injuries. Braces intensify the intricacies of dental trauma. A mouthguard then becomes an indispensable companion, ensuring protection for both the player and their orthodontic appliance.

In conclusion, the essence of the message is: play smart, play safely, and always prioritize the use of a mouthguard. It marks the distinction between celebrating a triumph and enduring a distressing injury.

For those uncertain about using the right mouthguard, seeking guidance from an experienced dentist serves as a simple yet important step that guarantees preserving a winning smile for the victory shot.

The author is an Orthodontist Specialist at the Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Malaya and may be reached at [email protected]

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