Suffering an injury can put a serious hurdle on a player’s season or even their career as a whole. Anything from a torn ACL to a concussion can have an athlete out for an indefinite amount of time. But a common injury that is often overlooked and one of easiest to prevent is a dental injury.
So, how likely is an athlete to get their teeth knocked out? An athlete has a 10% chance of receiving an orofacial injury every season of play. In addition, athletes have a 33-56% chance of receiving an orofacial injury during their playing career.
For full contact sports like hockey or MMA, mouthguards are required, but what about limited contact sports, like basketball or softball?
Sometimes limited-contact sports see more dental injuries than the high contact sports. In fact, the American Dental Association, reported that basketball saw more dental injuries than football. Part of the reason is that high contact sports like football require mouthguards and helmets. Another reason is that low contact sports see more close-quartered contact than can lead to flying elbows to the face.
Despite basketball seeing a large amount of dental injuries, the rules don’t reflect so. While sprained or broken ankles have been met with remedies such as ankle supporting shoes and braces, dental injuries remain unchallenged. With no mandate requiring players to wear mouth guards, non-contact sports injuries to player’s teeth have soared. Just ask Cleveland Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson...But basketball isn’t the only sport with high risk. Sports such as baseball and cricket, which are relatively contact-free, also see a dental injuries because of their laxed mandates. Baseball pitchers and cricket bowlers are at risk of getting hit in the face with the ball.
An athlete of any sport puts their body (and teeth) at risk for injury. That’s why it’s so important to invest in protective gear regardless of mandate. While dental injuries may be inevitable, they are preventable with the use of mouthguards.