Sports Dentistry

Being a member of the Academy for Sports Dentistry and having received additional training in the field of Sports Dentistry, Dr. Barakat is a valuable resource for your oral care needs during sports and exercise. Whether your child plays team sports or you are an exercise enthusiast yourself, Dr. Barakat can help you protect your smile and teeth from injuries and damage those activities can cause your face and teeth. Minutes matter with a dental injury on a field or court and not following the correct protocol can have dire consequences on the long term survival of teeth. If you or your child experiences trauma during sport or exercise, causing the loss or fracture of a tooth, call our office immediately and we can guide you on the necessary treatment protocol.


Being physically active herself and having been part of team sports during her youth, Dr. Barakat understands the importance of exercise and sports for improving one’s general health. As participation in exercise and team sports increases over the years, sports medicine is integral to the wellbeing and safety of athletes and participants, be they professional or amateur. But almost every sport or activity can have an impact on one’s teeth and face. And the oral health of any athlete can impact their overall health as well as their athletic performance at a competitive level, according to recent studies. # A. Sports dentistry deals directly with dental trauma resulting from sports injuries, and their prevention but also includes all aspects of the oral health of athletes such as pre-competition screening, prevention of gum disease and decay, and maintaining their nutritional demands without compromising their dental health.

Contact sports such as basketball, football, hockey, waterpolo, and martial arts or boxing can pose the greatest risk to the mouth and teeth as well as to jaws.




Without a mouthguard, an athlete is 60 times more likely to experience a dental injury and to incur costs of upwards of $5000 to replace and restore broken teeth or jaws.2.

Traumatic and long term damage from sports related dental injuries can be devastating and very costly. According to researchers, the most common causes of youth injuries treated in hospital emergency departments were basketball, football, bicycling, playgrounds and soccer. Among combat sports such as karate, kung-fu, ju jitsu or kickboxing etc..the risk of dental and facial injuries was 30%. 1.

Non contact sports such as weightlifting can also result in cracked and worn teeth following chronic squeezing of the teeth against each other during exertion or accidental trauma from lifting exercises such as clean and jerk.


Mouthguard use has been consistently shown to be successful in preventing hundreds of thousands of dental injuries in sports and the subsequent need for dental treatment. 3. But since not all sports are the same, neither are mouthguards. “Wearing something is not necessarily better than nothing”. 4.

A sports mouthguard should be properly fitting and allow for unobstructed breathing. To ensure that your mouthguard is providing adequate protection for your teeth, you must have your individual bite and teeth checked to determine which jaw your mouthguard should be fitted on. Braces, appliances and developmental conditions also need to be considered in the design of the mouthguard.

The type of sport played affects the ultimate fit and thickness of the mouthguard. If a mouthguard is too thin, it may not protect the athlete’s teeth sufficiently and if it is too loose, there is a risk of aspirating it. If a mouthguard has been deformed either by overuse, repeated heating and cooling, or by constant chewing it should be examined for replacement as it has likely lost its ability to protect teeth. If a boil and bite mouthguard is to be used, it must be evaluated for adequate thickness depending on the sport or activity played.

Custom mouthguards made by dentists are considered to be the gold standard in sports dentistry. They are made under heat and pressure and provide the most accurate fit of all mouthguards and are the best protection for teeth, with the least interference with speech and breathing. (4,5) They are designed specifically to fit the athlete’s jaw relationship and teeth keeping in mind the degree of impact expected to the mouth.



Example of a properly fitting custom mouthguard

Other non contact activities such as distance running and triathlon training have a low impact to the face but the risk of tripping and falling still exists, which can result in facial and dental injuries, which can result in facial and dental injuries. Knowing what to do if that happens, is key in the long term success of tooth repair or replacement. Additionally, when training long hours and increasing the frequency of food intake, or consuming sports drinks, gels, high carbohydrate diets, and other energy replenishing supplements, the risk of tooth decay and acid erosion of enamel increases significantly. Dr. Barakat, a runner herself, can guide a patient’s training with minimal damage to teeth.

No matter your sport or activity, Dr. Barakat can help you or your child train safely, and keep your beautiful smiles from preventable injury and damage. If you would like Dr. Barakat to check your or your child’s mouthguard, you are welcome to contact us at 858-451-2104 or at

References :
# A- Dr. Steve Mills/ Academy for Sports Dentistry

1. Sports Medicine / The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.
2. National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety.
3. American Dental Association
4. Academy of General Dentistry - Impact June 2019- Dr. Richard Knowlton
5. Dr. Steve Mills/ Academy for Sports Dentistry


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