Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery In London
Call us on 020 7935 8627
Main menu Search Search
Specialist Areas

Avoiding Maxillofacial Sports Injuries

Football players in goalmouth

A US research paper from September 2023 focused on one sport (soccer) over a 20 year period. This considered almost 27,000 cases of maxillofacial injury, of varying severity.

The sport had re-emerged in the US in the latter decades of the 20th century. Fresh popularity bringing players to the game and as the research found, an increasing injury rate from 2003 for a decade.

In the later years studied, despite increased participation, injury rates fell. They were also consistently lower in the 10-19 age group and for female players.

Seriousness of injury followed a similar pattern, in terms of the degree of damage, age and gender of the players who were injured.

Rational Protection

There are subtle factors, such as the intent, or physical ability of young, or female players to injure each other. The study acknowledged this but pointed in another direction.

As the game became mainstream, safer playing styles were adopted, training improved, those officiating took greater note of foul play.

The use of mouthguards and better medical management came in, from school level participation, to adult teams, or professional games.

Similar results have been found in studies across sports, from cycling, to rugby, or horse riding. Having rules and sticking to them matters, as does the use of safety equipment, such as well designed helmets.

Soft tissue injuries are common in sport but maxillofacial damage is not so far behind, from jaw injuries and fractures, to teeth being cracked, or driven out of place. Concussion, or small bone fractures are not rare.

Taking Swift Action

Reducing the risk of maxillofacial injury in sport helps this to be sustainable and is about making the effort to be protected. Being sufficiently fit to play the sport has also been proven to make a difference.

Accidents still happen and the next most important step is to have them dealt with. Maxillofacial consultants can and do deal with injuries which are years old but this does not make treatment easier.

A small injury can develop into something else, with tissue or bone deteriorating, or unwanted effects on related structures. In rarer cases, maxillofacial damage can cause issues throughout your body.

Assuming nature will solve the problem may not help, or braving pain to carry on. Self damage apart, this could end up with a longer time away from the sport you enjoy.

Using Modern Science

The latest protective equipment has prevented damage and saved lives, such as helmet, or headguard design compared to not many years ago. Similar thoughts apply to medical support.

Imaging equipment such as cone beam scanners are available in house at good maxillofacial clinics. Materials used to repair damage have improved rapidly, from tooth implants, to 3D bio-printing.

Medical science is constantly evolving, giving us better understanding of the unseen effects sports injuries can have. The ability to help to bring a quicker recovery can put you back in the game.

Sports injuries are not inevitable and we hope you avoid them but if not, finding technology led, professional care is a good way to minimise the injury.