Local Orthodontist Spotlights Injury Prevention

Each April the dental community joins together to promote National Facial Protection Month. It is the perfect time of year to bring attention to how important it is to protect your teeth, gums and mouth from injury when taking part in organized sports and recreational activities.

“It is important that athletes of all ages play it safe by wearing mouth guards and appropriate protective gear when participating in activities that could cause injuries,” said local orthodontist Dr. Susan Lempert, a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). “Many sports injuries can be prevented by wearing appropriate protective gear.”

Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available. Over-the-counter mouth guards cost as little as $5 and can protect teeth and jaws, but they only provide protection when they are worn.

mouthguard types

Mouth guards are much less expensive than the cost of care to restore broken or knocked out teeth. In a recent AAO study among 1,000 U.S. parents whose children play in organized sports, the parents estimated it would cost $1,142 to replace a damaged permanent tooth. In reality, costs to treat one knocked-out tooth over a lifetime can range from $5,000 to $20,000, according to an article in the journal Sports Health.

Dr. Lempert advises parents and coaches to remind youngsters to always use a mouth guard when participating in any activity during which the mouth could come into contact with a hard object or the pavement. “Athletes in orthodontic treatment should consult their orthodontist about the type of mouth guard to use,” said Dr. Lempert.

Dr. Susan Lempert

Consistent use of other protective equipment is important, too. Helmets save lives and prevent head injuries. They should be worn for activities such as bicycling, skateboarding or skating on in-line skates. Helmet wear is mandated for many organized sports. Face guards, devices made of plastic or metal that attach to baseball helmets, help to prevent facial injuries as well.

For more information, visit Dr. Susan Lempert’s website at http://www.lempertsmile.com/ or call 856-241-8400.

American Association of OrthodontistsNational Facial Protection Month is co-sponsored annually by the American Association of Orthodontists, the oldest and largest dental specialty organization in the world, and by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Academy for Sports Dentistry and the American Dental Association. Orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those with this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the AAO. The AAO’s website is aaoinfo.org. 

 

 

Play it Safe: Protect Your Smile

April is National Facial Protection Month and during this time the American Association of Orthodontists along with the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association and the Academy for Sports Dentistry campaign to educate the public about facial protection. With spring sports underway and kids eager to play outside after a long winter the risk on dental injury is higher.

Wearing a mouth guard is a simple measure that could protect their smile all year long.

Mouth guards reduce the risk of knocking out teeth or breaking your jaw during contact sports by cushioning the impact between the upper and lower teeth and by creating a resilient shield around the teeth.

tooth shield

Local orthodontist, Dr. Susan Lempert, quotes the American Association of Orthodontists position on mouth guards, “While most organized sports require a mouth guard for participation it is important to note that injury can happen during informal neighborhood play and even when you are riding your bike.”  She emphasizes that “Any time you’re engaged in an activity where your face can come in contact with something hard—say another player, a ball, the pavement, or any hard object—it’s a time that you should be wearing a mouth guard!”  Many injuries will be less severe or prevented with mouth guard wear.

tooth shield 2When choosing a mouth guard it is important to consider several factors including comfort, fit and ease of breathing.  There are three general types of guards:  Custom-Made, Mouth Formed or “Boil-and-Bite” and Stock Guards.  Dr. Lempert explains that custom guards are more expensive but they provide the most protection as they are made from a full mouth digital scan taken in the dentist’s office and sent to a dental lab for fabrication. The Boil-and-Bite guards are a good cost-effective alternative but tend to wear quickly, are bulky and make breathing difficult.  Both of these guards cannot be used when orthodontic braces are in place.

Dr. Lempert encourages the use of the best fitting stock guard during orthodontic care to minimize tooth and jaw injury and to prevent the braces from embedding in the lip if the patient gets hit.

“With many choices out there it can be challenging to find a comfortable stock guard for use while braces are in place.” Dr. Lempert explains. “We know that custom guards are the best, but during orthodontic care they cannot be used.  There are many options out there for stock guards but the one I have been most impressed with in terms of comfort, design, protection and cost is the ToothShield by Practicon.” The ToothShield was designed by renowned pediatric dentist and educator, Dr. Theodore Croll, and is made of a soft, flexible material that fits comfortably while in place.  The ToothShield is fabricated in the USA of safe FDA-grade thermoplastic elastomer.   The ToothShield retails for approximately $6-7 per guard and can be conveniently delivered to your doorstep by Amazon.

So play it safe during contact sports this spring and all year long—wear a mouth guard!

Dr. Lempert provides complimentary orthodontic screenings for children in her Swedesboro office.  You can visit her website at:  www.lempertsmile.com to learn more about her practice.

Dr. Susan LempertAAO

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lempert graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Human Biology.   She received her Master of Science in Oral Biology Degree, Certificate in Orthodontics, and Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree from Temple University School of Dentistry.