Facial trauma can affect athletes of any age. The risk of severe injuries in certain sports is well known, including contact sports like football and boxing. But even less aggressive sports can lead to serious facial trauma, such as tennis and softball. Maxillofacial trauma requires the specialized expertise of an oral surgeon in San Diego. A skilled oral surgeon can treat injuries like facial lacerations, fractured facial bones, fractured jaws, lacerations inside the mouth, and knocked out teeth.
Helmets and Facemasks
Full-face helmets and facemasks are required for certain sports. But even if you don’t belong to a team that requires the use of safety equipment, you should invest in a high-quality helmet or facemask regardless. Professional skiers, for instance, often protect themselves from facial trauma by wearing special racing helmets that feature an extension to protect the lower jaw from fractures in the event of a fall. When you shop around for a facemask, check that it will fit the helmet you have. Additionally, check with your coach or trainer regarding the right configuration of bars for your particular sport and position. Some facemasks are designed to offer more protection for the mouth area, while others are intended to offer less protection in favor of better visibility. This is why in football, linemen have more protective facemasks with less visibility, and quarterbacks have lighter facemasks with a more open bar configuration.
Mouthguards are a must for preventing sports-related facial trauma that could require oral surgery. They’re also relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the expense of emergency treatments for mouth injuries. You could try an over-the-counter mouthguard that doesn’t require adjustment to fit your mouth, but you’ll likely find it too bulky. These are also more likely to slip out of place, and to interfere with speech and breathing. Instead, look for a boil-and-bite type of mouthguard that fits your teeth better. If you’re a serious athlete, you’re better off visiting a dental professional for a custom-made mouthguard. These tend to be the most comfortable and longest-lasting type of mouthguard.