National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Preventing and Managing Sport-Related Dental and Oral Injuries

J Athl Train. 2016 Oct;51(10):821-839. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-51.8.01. Epub 2016 Dec 5.


Objective: To provide athletic trainers, health care professionals, and all those responsible for the care of athletes with clinical recommendations for preventing and managing sport-related dental and oral injuries.

Background: Participation in competitive sports continues to grow at both the interscholastic and intercollegiate levels. Therefore, exposure to, and the incidence of athletic-related injury, including orofacial injury, will also likely increase. At the time of this writing, the leading governing agencies for interscholastic (National Federation of State High School Associations) and intercollegiate (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sports require only protective orofacial equipment (eg, mouthguards) for 5 and 4, respectively, of their sanctioned sports. Although orofacial injuries represent a small percentage of all sport-related injuries, the financial burden associated with these injuries (eg, tooth avulsion) can exceed $15 000 over an adult life. Therefore, effective management of sport-related dental injuries is critical to the long-term financial, physical, and emotional health of people who have experienced dental trauma.

Recommendations: Based upon the current evidence regarding sport-related orofacial injury, we provide recommendations related to planning considerations, education, and mouthguard efficacy, material, fabrication, and care considerations. Additionally, suggested best practices for managing sport-related dental injury are also given for athletic trainers and other health care professionals.

Keywords: mouthguard; sports dentistry; tooth avulsion; tooth fracture.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Humans
  • Maxillofacial Injuries* / etiology
  • Maxillofacial Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Maxillofacial Injuries* / therapy
  • Mouth Protectors* / standards
  • Mouth Protectors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Care Management* / organization & administration
  • Patient Care Management* / standards
  • Quality Improvement
  • Tooth Injuries* / etiology
  • Tooth Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Tooth Injuries* / therapy