As spring and summer sports kick off, kids aren’t the only ones working up a sweat. Nervous parents, many who have shelled out thousands of dollars in orthodontic care, are sweating on the sidelines in fear that their kids will end up with a mouth injury.

My family is no exception. It seems like we’ve shelled out enough on orthodontia over the years to feed a third-world country for a decade.

I found out that April is National Sports Injury Prevention Month. this was just excuse I needed to ask a dentist who specializes in this sort of thing (he founded Emergency Dental Care USA), for some advice.

So… here’s a roundup of Dr. Michael Obeng’s suggestions for preventing injury to my daughter’s million (or at least several thousand) dollar smile.

  • To minimize the chance of injuring their teeth, young athletes who participate in both contact and non-contact sports should wear custom-fitted mouth guards.
  • Athletes should visit their dentist on a regular basis to check for unusual tooth wear.
  • If the worst happens and a tooth is knocked loose or comes out, seek emergency dental treatment immediately.
  • In the case of a tooth being knocked out, be careful not to touch the root. If the tooth is contaminated, rinse it gently with clean saline or water and get to a dentist within 30 minutes.

“The reason you want a dentist to replant the tooth right away,” explained Dr. Obeng, “is that once the tooth is out of the socket for more than an hour, the body is more likely to treat it as a foreign object. “

Yikes! A foreign object! My checkbook has an extremely close relationship with everyone of my daughter’s “orthodontia correct” teeth.  There is nothing “foreign” to me about any one of those pearly whites.

You can bet I won’t be caught on the sidelines again without one of those custom-fitted mouth guard things in my purse – and Dr. Obeng’s number in my speed dial.

Now all I need to do is come up with a way to make sure my daughter wears her protective gear without me having to run out on soccer field waving a mouth guard and screaming, “Keep the ball away from your face!”

As I said, Dr. Obeng has locations across the United States. You can find out where at at


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