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May 13th, 2014

April is National Facial Protection Month.  The American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Academy for Sports Dentistry have joined together to support and promote the event.
Every year about 3 million people are treated for facial injuries in emergency rooms across the U.S.  The injuries include trauma to the eyes, nose, skin, teeth and other areas of the face and neck.  And that number doesn’t include those who see their own physician or dentist with an injury.  It highlights the need to stress the wearing of protective wear including helmets, protective eyewear, and mouth guards.
Spring brings more outdoor activity and generally signals an increase in trauma from skateboards, bicycle riding, swing sets, and other recreational activity including organized and backyard sports.  In fact, more injuries are sustained from backyard activities than from organized team sports.  It’s imperative for kids and adults to wear proper protection when participating in any sport that requires it.
Recently, concussions in sports have been in the news.  There are calls to forbid head contact with soccer balls for kids under 14 or 16 since it creates a shock to the brain and we really don’t know how much damage is done.  And while the science is incomplete, there might be some measure of protection from concussion that comes with wearing a properly fitted mouthguard.
Some studies have shown and increase in brain trauma in older soccer players and even one death of a 29 year old former college player from ALS (Lou Gherigs disease) related to repeated trauma.  The problem seems to be the frequency of trauma, especially in practice where the ball is headed repeatedly.
We can fix many dental injuries to restore proper function and appearance, but we would much rather prevent these injuries.  Nothing replaces a natural dentition as well as what you are born with.

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