April is National Facial Protection Month

Active and competitive sports have grown immensely over the past few years and it’s been estimated that about 20 million teens participate in a variety of competitive sports. With this huge amount of participation, the occurrence of injuries also increases substantially. It has been reported that almost 40% of all adolescent injuries occur in a competitive sports environment and most of those injuries are to the head, face and mouth. Athletes are more than 60 times more likely to sustain injuries to the mouth if not wearing a mouth guard. When receiving a blow to the head, the teeth and jaw often impact together and send a shock through the neck and spine, thus resulting in more substantial injuries that may have been preventable with a mouth guard.

What about wearing a mouthguard while in braces? Make sure your child always wears a mouthguard with braces while playing sports. April is National Facial Protection Month, and spring sports are in full swing and summer sports just around the corner! If your kids play contact sports like softball, baseball, tennis, or lacrosse—and especially if they wear braces—protective gear is absolutely essential.

There are many different mouthguards out there, however there are three basic types: pre-made, “boil-and-bite,” and custom-made. The “boil –and- bite” type is too tight fitting with braces and cannot be worn while in orthodontic treatment. Custom-made mouthguards are specially designed by your child’s orthodontist or general dentist to provide optimal protection AFTER the braces are removed. During orthodontic treatment a pre-made, loose fitting mouthguard is indicated. You want a mouthguard that doesn’t fit tightly around the teeth so that the teeth can move into alignment with the braces. At Holmdel Orthodontics, we provide orthodontic mouthguards for our patients in braces. Dr. Olcay will show your child how to wear his or her mouthguard properly.

National Facial Protection Month is sponsored by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists. Visit their websites for more info on treating and preventing sports-related injuries to the face and head.

As a member of the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), Dr. Olcay encourages your kids and their teammates to wear mouthguards and other protective gear—such as helmets, face guards, and protective eyewear—when playing organized and recreational sports.