The Gap Between Sports and Teeth
Sports can build muscle, character and competitive spirit; unfortunately they don’t usually help your smile. The truth is teeth can take a beating in the sports arena. Sports injuries are to blame for between 13 and 39 percent of gap-toothed smiles, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
So does this mean you need to give up the dream and claim a seat on the bench to maintain your pearly whites? Luckily, the answer is no. Sports and teeth can co-exist with the right combination of prevention and dental repair. The trick is to keep your teeth safe whenever possible, and head to the dentist quickly in the event of a problem.
Professional sports teams know the importance of a good dentist. They keep dentists on staff so they can treat players quickly. Sports professionals also promote the use of mouthguards, which are specially designed rubber inserts that fit around your teeth to protect them. If you should get hit in the face during play, the mouthguard will absorb some of the impact, making it less likely that your teeth will crack, get knocked out or that your mouth itself will be damaged.
Research has shown the athletes who wear mouthguards are 60 times less likely than athletes who don’t wear them to have their teeth damaged, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). And mouthguards aren’t just for contact sports like football and boxing. You can be at risk for a dental injury even if you participate in an individual sport, such as figure skating or gymnastics.
If you are looking to wear a mouthguard the good news is that they can be inexpensive and easy to use. There are three main types to consider. First is a custom-fitted one that Charles River Dental can custom design for your mouth using the latest technology. This is a particularly good option if you have braces or specialized dental work to protect. Custom-fitted guards are comfortable and easy to wear. If you’re not in the market for a custom piece, you can also purchase a premade ready-to-wear version, or one that can be shaped to your mouth by heating it in boiling water.
If you are injured and lose a tooth, you don’t have to go through the rest of your life with a gap. Dental implants are artificial teeth, made out of titanium and other rugged materials that are surgically attached to the bone of your jaw giving you a replacement that wears and feels more like your lost tooth. Charles River Dental can blend the replacement tooth so it fits in seamlessly with your other teeth. Done correctly, you won’t be able to spot the replacement.
With the right mouthguard and the right dentist, your teeth and your enthusiasm for sports can safely coexist, which should be enough to put a smile on any athlete’s face.This is a paid partnership between charles-river-dental and Boston Magazine's City/Studio