Play it safe! April is National Facial Protection Month and the surgeons of Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery urge professional, amateur and recreational athletes to protect their faces and mouths. According to Dr. M. James Clark, a board-certified oral surgeon with Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, “We see about a dozen students each year that experience facial trauma during sports practice and games.” Although not all sports-related injuries can be avoided, there are some steps that players can take to minimize their risks.
“Wear a helmet!” says Dr. Clark. Whether you play football, baseball, or lacrosse, wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent a serious injury. New innovations in helmet technology make them comfortable and effective in protecting the players’ maxillofacial area. In addition to a helmet, Dr. Clark recommends that players wear a mouth guard that will protect players against loss of teeth or injuries to the jaw. New designs of mouth guards are lightweight, easy to wear and provide excellent protection for the teeth, gums and lips.
“Play hard, but be smart,” says Dr. Clark. “Pack your safety gear! And, on your way to practice, wear your seat belt in the car. You can’t be too safe.”