AGD Tackles Managing Oral Injuries and Mouthguards

  • by AGD Staff
  • Jun 4, 2019
Chicago, IL (06.01.2019) —While engaging in sports, sometimes injuries are inevitable. But what happens when an oral injury occurs? Sports dentistry is an area that is experiencing rapid growth. Many professional teams are beginning to expand their training and healthcare personnel with the addition of a general dentist qualified to practice sports dentistry. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) in its June issue of AGD Impact examines various oral injuries and how sports dentists work with athletes to prevent such incidences primarily through the use of mouthguards.

The article highlights: 

1. Management of a tooth in the event ofan avulsion, fraction or luxation.
2. Why a custom-fabricated mouthpiece created by a general dentist is better than a store-bought mouthguard.
3. The most risky sports to cause a dental injury.
4. The importance of administering immediate assistance to an athlete with a tooth injury.
5. The way general dentists can contribute to their community by volunteering to create custom mouthguards for local teams.

In the article, Rick Knowlton, DMD, MAGD,AGD member and one of the lead dental consultants for the U.S. Olympic Committee, suggests a step-by-step process that can hopefully save a tooth after a sports injury. 

“Dentists should perform a sensitivity test, then take a periapical X-rays and a panorex or CT to determine if there are also fractures of the root or supporting bone,” advises Knowlton. “It is important to conduct a thorough oral exam to look for any lacerations or materials that may have entered the mouth during the injury.”

Although skilled professionals offer solutions post-injury, they stress that it is always best to take measures to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place. In most cases where team members are required to wear mouthguards, oral injuries can be minor or preventable. The key is having the proper mouthguards. 

 Sports dentists favor custom-made over store-purchased mouthguards in an effort to minimize injuries. According to the AGD Impact article, 80 to 90 percent of store-purchased mouthguards do not offer a proper fit, increasing a player’s risk of an oral injury. It is best to invest in a custom-made mouthguard to guarantee proper fit and more secure protection. The article also mentions how most general dentists already have the equipment needed to create this equipment.