From the Editor
Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD
Spring is just around the corner, bringing with it training camps for various professional, amateur, and youth athletic leagues. Fittingly, this month Inside Dentistry examines the expanding professional opportunities associated with sports dentistry. From prevention of injuries to the oral hard and soft tissues to trauma treatment, providing services that cater to the specific dental needs of athletes can add a fun and exciting dimension to dentistry for all members of the dental practice team.
What’s Your Motivation? As our interviewees suggest, when starting out in sports dentistry, it’s important to start at the beginner’s level, so to speak. Providing sports dentistry is a good way to help the community, develop your skills, and cultivate a reputation as a sports dentist. It also helps promote the importance of consistently wearing protective mouth gear during sporting activities. However, when providing service, it’s important to do so honorably, without expectations, and for the right reasons. When practiced well, sports dentistry opens up new avenues for providing necessary oral healthcare to a broader range of prospective patients.
It’s Still About Dentistry. I concur with the opinions expressed by the experts interviewed for this month’s feature. Sports dentistry comprehensively addresses the preventive and treatment needs of athletes in order to anticipate the consequences of their activities that might impact their dental health. In other words, sports dentistry is comprehensive dentistry that emphasizes health and prevention.
Education & Standards of Care. Providing current and state-of-the-art care sports injury prevention and injury protection—as well as trauma treatment—requires that dentists stay abreast of improvements to dental materials and techniques. However, as with any area of dental practice, it’s important to ensure that the information on which you base your decisions is trustworthy. An organization like the Academy of Sports Dentistry that is recognized by the American Dental Association provides education to dentists and their teams (eg, hygienists, assistants), as well as coaches, trainers, and players, about the latest in treatments, prevention, and anything related to sports dentistry. But remember, whenever you are presented with new technology or materials in this area, base your selection decisions on such questions as: What does it do? How does it work? What research supports its efficacy and the validity of claims? Will it really benefit my patients and my practice?
We hope you enjoy this issue and find it stimulates your interest in pursuing a new and rewarding aspect of dentistry that you previously might not have considered. We encourage you to send us your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, thank you for reading, and thank you for your continued support.
With warm regards,
Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD
Associate Dean for Research
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine