Dental Organizations Collaborate for National Facial Protection Month

April 21, 2017
Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

April, in addition to being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, is also National Facial Protection Month. Five dental organizations have teamed up to promote the use of mouth guards in sports. They note that nearly $500 million is spent each year to treat damaged or knocked-out teeth. The cheaper solution for dental patients: wearing a mouth guard.

The sponsor dental groups estimate that nearly $500 million is spent each year to treat sports-related oral injuries.

Five dental organizations, including the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), and the American Dental Association (ADA) have teamed up to help educate the public on protection against facial injuries. The collaboration is in honor of National Facial Protection Month, which takes place annually in April.

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Almost $500 million is spent yearly to treat teeth that are injured or knocked out due to sports-related injuries. It is important to raise awareness of these types of injuries and the methods people can use to prevent them from occurring, especially since the weather is warmer and people are participating in outside activities more often.

According to the collaborating organizations, athletes in every type of sport should be encouraged to wear mouth guards, which can help prevent mouth injuries from occurring. Dentists are already prepared, in many cases, to fit and manufacture mouth guards, but consumers can also get them from commercial retailers and some drug stores. Patients and their families should be encouraged to wear other types of protective gear, including helmets, that could help prevent more serious injuries to the mouth or face.

In addition to the protection offered by mouth guards and other safety equipment, these types of products are a more cost-effective option compared to the expenses incurred while fixing injured or damaged teeth.

The five organizations that have teamed up advise that any type of mouth protection should be strong, light, custom fitted, and easy to clean. The protective equipment should also be the right size and fit over both the gums and the teeth. Dentists and dental specialists should be prepared to consult with patients regarding their unique needs, and to recommend appropriate mouth protection based on the type of activity.

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