Although sports are popular all year long, spring time brings a big increase in outdoor activity for both adults and children. While we all want to enjoy the warmer weather, our kids need to be especially careful – and take precautions – when playing sports, biking, skate boarding or using any kind of motorized vehicles.
Just as you automatically fasten a seatbelt in the car, parents must similarly protect themselves and their children during outdoor sports or activities. Helmets, mouth guards and face guards are the best way to protect the head, brain and delicate areas of the face. These devices are continually being reinvented to make them both more comfortable and more effective, so find out what is recommended for your child’s sport or activity, and seek out the newest technology so you know your child is getting the best protection possible.
Not all helmets are created equal. Different sports and activities require helmets of different shapes and materials to provide the best protection of your head and brain. Also, it is important that helmets fit properly, and that straps be adjusted in order to maximize both comfort and effectiveness. Having not just protective gear, but properly-fitting gear, can make all the difference.
For some activities and sports, helmets with face guards are recommended. Catchers in baseball, as well as lacrosse players, will require specialized types of facial protection, so be sure to find out what your child needs in advance.
Mouth guards have come a long way, and the newer versions are made with synthetic materials that are sturdy, lightweight, and make it easy for the wearer to breathe. The least expensive kinds, which are generically shaped, but can be softened through boiling and then fitted to a specific bite, are not as comfortable, but are fine for gym class or casual athletes. Your dentist can make a custom-fabricated mouth guard that will be much more comfortable and durable, something to consider for serious athletes.
There are five criteria to consider when being fitted for a mouth protector, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. The device should be:
- • Fitted so that it does not misalign the jaw and throw off the bite
- • Lightweight
- • Strong
- • Easy to clean
- • The proper size to cover the upper and/or lower teeth and gums
TREATING FACIAL INJURIES
While it is better to try to prevent injuries in the first place, sometimes, even with the best precautions, concussions or other injuries will occurs , and an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon should be consulted in the case of broken bones in the face, cheek, jaw or mouth. They have the most experience and expertise in treating facial fractures, and understanding the implications both from a medical and dental perspective. Since these injuries can affect sight, swallowing or even breathing, it is important to seek out appropriate treatment immediately. The Oral Surgeon will work closely with any other doctors on the case to ensure the best possible treatment.
There’s no reason to abstain from spring’s beautiful outdoor weather and bountiful activities. The key is to protect yourself and your children from injury, and then if one happens to occur, remember that Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons understand the complexities of facial injuries, and are specially trained to diagnose and treat them successfully.