Keep Your Smile Safe for National Facial Protection Month

Child wearing hockey head gear

April is best known as the first full month of spring. It is the month where you and your children can finally pack up your scarves and gloves and strap on your cleats and knee pads for your favorite outdoor sports. However, all of those outdoor activities can put you at extra risk of facial injuries. As a result, one little-known fact about this month is that it is National Facial Protection Month. In honor of this month, we will be discussing facial injuries and how they can affect your teeth and jaw, how to prevent them, mouth guards, and other sports safety tips.

High Occurrence of Knocked-out Teeth, Broken Jaws, and Other Facial Injuries

April being National Facial Protection Month is an important reminder that playing sports results in elevated incidences of facial injuries such as chipped, broken, and knocked out teeth, broken jaws, and other painful facial injuries. In fact, those who play sports are more at risk for dental damage than any other type of facial injuries. No matter talented you or your child is, accidents can always happen, and you never know if you will accidentally get kicked or have something thrown at your face. The problem is, those accidents can have serious consequences.

How Facial Injuries Can Affect your Teeth and Jaw

Child with jaw pain

When it comes to facial injuries, your teeth are the most vulnerable part of your mouth. If you are lucky, trauma to your mouth can just chip or break your teeth and you risk accidentally biting the soft parts of the mouth like your tongue or inside of your cheeks. In more serious injuries, your teeth can get knocked out of alignment or knocked out entirely. All of these conditions can cause pain as well as damage the appearance of the face.

The other vulnerable part of your mouth is your lower jaw. Jaw fractures can cause pain, swelling, difficulty opening your mouth completely, and misalignment of the teeth. Any one of these facial injuries can be treated, but it can take time and is frequently costly and uncomfortable.

How to Prevent Facial Injuries

Of course, preventing facial injuries is much cheaper and less painful than fixing teeth damaged by sports-related injuries. It might be difficult to convince a child to wear protective gear since some of these methods for preventing facial injury may make them feel like they look silly compared to their peers, but it may help to remind them that an injury will feel a lot worse. Here are some effective methods for preventing facial injuries:
• Wear a helmet: If your sport allows you to wear a helmet, then, by all means, you should wear one. Not only do they reduce the risk of concussion, they can also cushion any blows that come your way.
• Wear a face shield: Another option for protecting your face and mouth from objects being hit, thrown, or kicked at them is to wear a face shield. It can be more obtrusive than other options, but it protects the entire face from injury.
• Wear a mouth guard: Your number one strategy for preventing damage to your teeth is to wear a mouth guard. Mouth guards are small and inexpensive, but they can make the difference between maintaining your perfect smile or missing a couple of teeth.

The Importance of Mouth Guards

Kid with mouth guard

Mouth guards are the unsung heroes of facial injury prevention. Not only do they protect your teeth, they can also protect your tongue and the soft tissues of your mouth because you are unable to accidentally bite them in the event of a facial injury. Mouth guards are especially important for children with braces or other apparatuses fixed to their teeth, as it can protect them from breaking.

When purchasing a mouth guard, you have three different options. The first is called a stock mouth protector, which can be found at any sporting goods store. Since it isn’t personalized to your mouth, it is the cheapest option as well as the least comfortable, but it is still effective. The second option called a boil and bite mouth protector, can also be found in a sporting goods store. You simply boil it to soften the material and then place it in your mouth to shape it to your teeth. For a mouth guard that is customized to your mouth, you can go to your dentist’s office where they will take a mold of your teeth. It is the most expensive of all three options, but since it is shaped directly to your mouth it is the most comfortable.

Sports Safety Tips for National Facial Protection Month

On top of wearing all protective gear required by your sport as well as facial protection, there are other precautions you can take to prevent injury this National Facial Protection Month. Some of these include:
• Rest: One of the biggest sports safety tips is to make sure that you are getting plenty of rest. When you are sleep-deprived and tired, your judgment isn’t as strong and your reaction times are slowed, putting you at extra risk for injury.
• Know the Rules: Before you start any game, make sure you understand all of the rules. If you don’t know what you are doing, you put your safety and the safety of others at risk.
• Take Basic First Aid: Accidents happen, but you can mitigate the effects if you know how to react in an emergency.

As you can see, National Facial Protection Month is an important reminder that facial injuries are more common than you might think and they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, among other negative health effects. Fortunately, you and your child can take precautions when playing your favorite sport in order to prevent facial injuries that can damage your teeth. Visiting your Las Vegas dentist to get your teeth examined on a regular basis for damage or misalignment is very important.

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About the Author

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Dr. Joan Landron

Currently serving the community at Absolute Dental since August 2008, Dr. Joan Landron graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1997.

She further honed her skills with a general practice residency at Metropolitan Hospital and underwent specialized training at New York University’s Implant Program for General Practitioners. Specializing in services such as X-rays, examinations, cleanings, crowns, and more, Dr. Landron brings a comprehensive approach to general and cosmetic dentistry, including implants.

A proud member of the American Dental Association, Nevada Dental Association, and Southern Nevada Dental Association, she cherishes her free time by spending moments with family, reading, and maintaining her health through exercise. Dr. Landron takes immense pride in being a part of the Absolute Dental team and is dedicated to her patients at the Absolute Dental – Nellis in Las Vegas, ensuring they receive the best care possible.

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