Protect Your Jaw While Playing Sports

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Athletes of any age know about the importance of proper safety gear. Helmets and pads protect players from concussions, broken bones, and other injuries that could take them out of the game. When you're picking out equipment, it's also important to have the right protection for your jaw, including the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

The TMJ controls movement in the jaw. Impact from an injury, such as trauma sustained in a collision with another player, can cause the joint to become misaligned, resulting in headaches, ear pain, difficulty chewing, and other symptoms.

As spring begins and many different sports seasons get underway, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons hosts National Facial Protection Month every April. The observance is an opportunity to remind adults and kids about the importance of proper head- and mouthgear to prevent injury to the TMJ and other parts of the face.

If you or your child plays contact sports, a custom mouth guard can help absorb the impact from a blow and reduce trauma to the jaw. Some sports might necessitate additional facial protection, including:

  • Football: All players should wear a helmet with facemask

  • Baseball: Players at bat should wear a helmet, while catchers and umpires should wear a full facemask

  • Hockey: All players should wear a helmet; goalies should wear a helmet with facemask

  • Lacrosse: All players should wear helmets with a facemask visor

  • Boxing, wrestling, and other martial arts: Participants should wear padded headgear

For athletes, the right gear is essential for preventing a sports-related injury. However, if you suspect you're suffering from TMJ pain due to an accident on the field, our Rochester dentists can perform a thorough examination to determine if your jaw is out of alignment.

To learn more about TMJ treatment options in Rochester, please call the office of Dr. Paul Sussman and Dr. Meredith Pogal at 585-227-4390 today.