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ADA offers dentists resources during facial protection awareness month

April 07, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Mouthguards and other facial protection gear can be useful for anyone engaged in recreational and organized sports, and the ADA encourages dentists to emphasize to patients the importance of this gear, especially during National Facial Protection Month in April.

The ADA has joined The Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Association of Orthodontists in supporting National Facial Protection Month.

"We encourage youth to get accustomed to wearing mouthguards during sporting activities so that they get used to it—just like if we have them wearing helmets on tricycles," said Dr. John Hellstein, D.M.D; president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology; professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology at the University of Iowa and former chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.

An estimated 12 million people ages of 5 and 22 years suffer a sport-related injury annually, which leads to 20 million lost days of school and approximately $33 billion in healthcare costs. Yet, some of these injuries could be prevented with protective gear.

"A properly fitted mouthguard is an essential piece of any athlete's protective equipment," says Dr. Paul Nativi, D.M.D. and past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry.

Dentists can advise their active patients to wear mouthguards, helmets, protective eyewear and face shields when appropriate.

The ADA offers a variety of patient education tools that dentists can use during National Facial Protection Month, including the Sports Safety (W510) brochure, a six-panel handout highlighting the essential role mouthguards play in helping prevent mouth and jaw injuries. It covers how to find a guard that fits, how to take care of the appliance and considerations for patients with orthodontia. The brochure explains that the best guard is one custom-made by your dentist and includes a list of dental emergency procedures to tear off and save. A pack of 50 brochures is available to members for $26 and $39 retail.

Another brochure, Handling Your Child's Dental Emergency (W147), also is available. Dentists can give it to parents to help them handle children's dental emergencies quickly and calmly. The brochure covers what to do when a child's tooth is knocked out, an object is caught between teeth, a toothache occurs, a jaw appears to be broken and more. A pack of 100 brochures is $29 for members and $43.50 retail. Use promo code 15110 by June 12 to save 15 percent on all ADA Catalog products.

Order today at adacatalog.org or by calling 1-800-947-4746.

MouthHealthy.org, the ADA's consumer-friendly dental website, also has information and resources on facial protection and mouthguards.

Other handouts and links that dentists can use to mark National Facial Protection Month are available at AAOMS.org.