Common site in American football in the 1950s when dental injuries were expected. (Photo courtesy of ASD member slide series)
1.2 Academy for Sports Dentistry
The Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) was formed in San Antonio, Texas, in 1983 by a dedicated group of dentists interested in protecting the oral health of athletes (◘ Fig. 1.4). The Academy boasts an international membership of over 600 members, many of whom are former athletes involved in a wide variety of research activities or with a strong interest in this field of study. Each year the ASD hosts their Annual Symposium usually in a city in North America. The program is full of dental trauma and trauma prevention information as well as additional information pertinent to sports dentists, such as concussion, nutrition, and musculoskeletal injuries. Members receive the journal Dental Traumatology as a benefit of membership, which helps to keep members current in treatment of dental trauma. The ASD also holds a team dentist course that is aimed at preparing dentists to work as a part of a medical staffs of an athletic team from high school through professionals.
1.3 Definition of Sports Dentistry
For nearly 40 years, there was no real definition to the field of sports dentistry, and in 1998 the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) created their first position statement that defined sports dentistry, and it has been revised to its current form today. “Sports Dentistry is the branch of sports medicine that deals with the prevention and treatment of dental injuries and related oral diseases associated with sport and exercise” . The current definition of sports dentistry involves not only the prevention and treatment of dental injuries in sport but also related oral diseases associated with sport. Related oral diseases in sports may include dental erosion and dental caries from increased use of sports drinks or from emesis for weight control in body conscious sports such as gymnastics or weight class sports like wrestling (◘ Fig. 1.5). The use of tobacco in the culture of some sports like baseball and hockey is aimed at getting the stimulant effects of nicotine, a potent mood stimulant, and many athletes wrongly believe that nicotine can improve performance. Nicotine is highly addictive, and other products in tobacco whether smoked or chewed are dangerous carcinogens (◘ Fig. 1.6) . oral cancer has been a sequelae to athlete habits over the years, and dentistry must be involved to stop this phenomenon. Spit tobacco usage also causes caries and periodontal destruction and is harmful to oral health in addition to being carcinogenic. Periodontal disease and dental caries are the two diseases fought exclusively by dentistry, and we need to take a very active role in this fight in the athlete community. Sports dentistry has begun additional research into the possibility that specially designed oral appliances may improve athletic performance (► Chap. 13). This will negate the need to use nicotine stimulants to improve performance and could improve athlete oral health by eliminating carcinogen usage and protecting the teeth from traumatic injury. Preventing and managing dentoalveolar trauma from sports injuries is a large task, but sports dentistry has become much more. Modern sports dentistry’s aim is to protect and improve the oral health of all athletes, and by improvement of oral health, we improve the total health of our athlete patients. We also cannot forget retired and aging athletes and their special oral health needs including dental solutions for managing the detrimental effects of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is seen as a growing problem in the athlete population especially in sports where size and body mass are important to success. Obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing carry significant health problems for those affected. Sleep-disordered breathing increases the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, cerebral vascular accident, as well as the dangers of excessive sleepiness such as motor vehicle accidents .