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Oral injuries account for 30% of sports injuries and each athlete participating in a contact/collision sport has a 10% chance of such an injury.1 Intrusive displacement of the anterior teeth as a result of falls is the most common injury in children with primary dentition, whereas fractures of the crown are the most common injuries in adolescents and adults.1–10 More than half of dental injuries involve maxillary incisors. The highest incidence of oral injuries has been reported in baseball and biking.1–10 The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry definitions of dento-alveolar injuries are summarized Table 33-1.

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Table 33-1. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Definitions of Dental Injuries

Studies over several decades have looked at the factors involved in facial and dental injuries and their epidemiology.1–11 It must be remembered that over the past 20 years many amateur and professional sports organizations have encouraged and/or mandated the use of protective equipment which has resulted in significant reductions in such injuries. Many experts have been quick to point out, however, that as there is no mandatory reporting of such injuries, the true incidence is almost certainly much higher than what is reported in the literature.


Trauma to the face during sports participation may result in several common outcomes. The first of these involves fractures of the facial bones; i.e., the maxilla, the mandible, and/or the dental alveolar ridge. Whenever injuries to the face and dental structures occur there is a possibility for life-threatening injury and the examiner should always follow the ABCs of basic life support.4,12,13 The extent of such an examination depends on the nature of the injury and the clinical presentation of the athlete. One should remember that ...

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