30% of head injuries occur during sports activity. A large percentage of these injuries involve the mouth area, ie the teeth and the adjacent soft and hard tissues with serious consequences for the athlete. In addition, an injury can cause bone fractures in the facial area (cheekbones, nose, lower jaw). Also, in both children and adults, the condyle is the most vulnerable area of the lower jaw. Fractures of the bone at the area of the condyle, can cause long-term, facial deformity problems. In children, fractures of the condyle mey prevent the development of the lower part of the face.
80% of tooth injuries involve the 4 anterior upper teeth. Athletes with dental malocclusions, as well as with incompetent lips which do not protect their teeth, are more likely to have dental injuries. It has also been observed in people who have suffered dental injury once, the risk of recurrence of a traumatic event increases to 49%.
Preventive measures to reduce the prevalence and severity of dental and maxillofacial injuries include helmets, face masks and protective mouthguards. The athletic protective mouthguard is an intraoral, mobile device made of a special elastic material with resistance to deformation, the use of which helps to reduce injuries to the teeth, temporomandibular joint, upper and lower jaw bones and intraoral soft tissues. The protective splint should be made under the supervision of the dentist and the final product should have specific properties and specifications:
1) To have been made after taking impression of the athlete’s teeth.
2) Have a suitable thickness in all areas of the splint to ensure damping of forces after impact.
3) Have a balanced closure when the teeth come in contact.
4) Be made of approved materials.
5) To be systematically checked by the dentist.