Have you ever wondered what you'd look like without your two front teeth? Probably not since you were six years old we'd imagine. Well, if you're active in sports, and you'd rather *not* envision yourself with a 1970's era hockey-star smile, you might wish to make friends with a sports dentist. A sports dentist specializes in the protection and treatment of orofacial injuries, and is your best ally when it comes to protecting you from having your teeth knocked out of your head. Gone are the days when a toothless smile was a badge of honor for sports heroes, so don't go joining the ranks of the old hall-of-famers this year, and take a look at some of the cool things a sports dentist can do for you.
The Best GearFirst in the arsenal of the sports dentist is the mouth guard. If you're involved in any sort of sport activity where contact with another player - or the ground - is possible, you'll want to ask your dentist about obtaining a custom-made mouth guard. Such mouth guards are affordable and last several years with good care. They're your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your teeth during sporting events.
Mouth guards are ubiquitous in sport, and for good reason - they save teeth. Some dentists and researchers also suggest that mouth guards might protect against concussion by absorbing the shock of a blow to the lower jaw. Another good reason to don a guard. Custom-made guards are far superior to the "boil and bite" guards you've probably seen in your local sporting goods store, and are made using a process similar to that used when making an orthodontic retainer. Essentially, a custom mold is made of your teeth, and the resulting product is a guard that fits your mouth and teeth as well as a tailored suit would fit on your body. Variations in the preparation and specifications of custom guards are dependent on the type of sports you're involved in, as well as your age and overall dental health. Consultation with a sports dentist can provide you with the insight you need to decide which kind of appliance is the best for your needs.
Taking It to the FieldOf course, sports dentistry doesn't solely revolve around the creation of mouth guards. If you happen to manage a team, or are involved in the operation of a large club, you may be interested in actually hiring a sports dentist to work on the field of competition as well. This is where a sports dentist can really be an asset, because in this role they act as a full member of the squad, proactively protecting athletes well before pre-season begins and until the very last game is played. On-field dentists are skilled in diagnosing injury on-site without the aid of x-rays, can execute tooth re-implantation during that very crucial five-minute window, and are the best person to have on-hand should someone experience a concussion or other injury that requires referral to a medical professional.
Protecting athletes - even the weekend warriors among us - is the job of the sports dentist. Get to know one if you're active in sports. This way, when you're finally featured on the cover of your favorite sporting magazine, you'll still be sporting a full mouth of your own healthy teeth!