Sports and preventive dentistry is a winning combination. It’s estimated that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports-related, according to the Journal of the International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry. The National Association of Athletic Trainers notes sports-related injuries add up to 20 million lost school days and $33 billion in associated health care costs each year. Of the dental injuries, around 80 percent reportedly affect at least one front tooth. There is no hiding such an injury!

As your providers for sports dentistry in Costa Mesa CA, Smiles4OC is adept at preventing, identifying, and resolving oral health issues that commonly arise among active patients, from the recreational runner to the collegiate or professional athlete. Not all general dentistry practices in Orange County and beyond have the experience and knowledge of this branch of sports medicine. But, Drs. Tom and Timothy Rolfes, Dr. Do, and Pravay Padia, are so skilled at preventing sports-related oral facial injuries and diseases.

Young boy playing baseball


Smiles4OC’s team of skilled dentists are experienced and knowledgeable in educating athletic trainers, other medical professionals, coaches, athletes, and parents on the risks sports and exercise pose to their good oral health. They also excel at discussing the benefits of products and techniques to prevent sports-related oral injuries and diseases.

When the “worst” does arise, they’re well-versed in diagnosing and treating oral and facial trauma. Basketball, football, cycling, playground, and soccer injuries were the most common causes of childhood injuries treated at hospital emergency rooms, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database. Dental injuries may be chips that damage the outermost protective layer of the teeth. Chips may be corrected with quality dental care, via porcelain veneers bonded to the front of the teeth to restore strength and appearance. More severe fractures may affect not only the dentin layer underneath your enamel but also the pulp or innermost tissue. Prompt treatment is essential. Root canal therapy may be the only way to save a tooth and avoid extraction and more costly and aggressive tooth replacement.

Your Costa Mesa, CA sports dentists also provide:

  • Emergency and immediate treatment for teeth that have been forced out of place or completely knocked out. Personalized attention from a dental professional is necessary, because there is a greater chance of saving the tooth if it’s reattached within an hour of being dislodged.
  • The best, lasting option for tooth replacement if reattachment fails, or should teeth break in such a way where they can’t be restored with root canal therapy and crowns
  • Accurate diagnostics and resolution of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) injuries and dislocations

With a foundation in quality dental care and personalized attention, Smiles4OC appreciates the role popular products geared toward athletes can play in their oral health. The Academy of General Dentistry’s peer-reviewed clinical journal, General Dentistry, reported an “alarming increase” in irreversible teeth damage among adolescents who consumed sports and energy drinks. Athletes assume these drinks are better for them than soda, and they’re often marketed as improving energy and performance. But researchers found enamel damage was evident after just five days of exposure to 22 acidic sports and energy drinks. This type of damage makes teeth sensitive and prone to cavities and decay. Minimizing the intake of these beverages is generally advised, but Smiles4OC’s dental professionals may also recommend:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Rinsing or “chasing” sports and energy drinks with water immediately after consumption.

The idea is to increase the flow of “nature’s cleanser,” saliva, which helps to normalize acidity levels in your mouth.The American Dental Association-recognized Academy for Sports Dentistry has also targeted nicotine-containing products, especially smokeless tobacco, as among oral health’s biggest opponents. Nicotine reduces the body’s ability to fight oral infections. Tobacco limits the growth of blood vessels, impairing healing after surgery or injury. Chewing tobacco users are also 50 times more likely to develop cancers on the cheek, gums, and membranes lining the lips.

Hundreds of drugs, including performance enhancers and medications used to relieve aches and pains, are associated with dry mouth. Xerostomia is another healthy mouth threat, because less saliva is present to wash away food particles, reduce harmful bacteria, neutralize decay-producing acids, and promote remineralization.


No discussion about sports dentistry is complete without highlighting the all-important mouth guard. This dental appliance is placed in the mouth prior to practice or competition. It should be worn by anyone who participates in a sport or activity with a chance of developing tooth, jaw, or oral soft tissue damage, especially activities that involve collisions or contact. These appliances create a “cushion” that stabilizes and prevents injury to the temporomandibular joint that connects the jaws to the skull. They’re also designed to substantially reduce soft tissue injuries to the lips and gums, and to provide protection from myriad types of facial and head trauma. However, the mouth guard is only as good as its fit. A properly-fitted mouth guard is associated with comfort, and more likely to be worn by the athlete as it should be for optimal safety and injury prevention.


Over-the-counter “boil and bite” mouth guards may be uncomfortable and impair speech and breathing. A custom mouth guard is made from a cast or impression of your teeth. Smiles4OC’s sports dentists in Costa Mesa, CA use only the finest materials and advanced designs to accurately fit the appliance to your teeth. Hard outer layers and soft inner layers combine to create a guard with protection and comfort. Experienced professionals also consider the following factors when designing custom guards:

  • Adequate coverage and appropriate thickness to reduce impact forces
  • Even contact between the upper and lower teeth, for optimal absorption of energy upon impact
  • Speech considerations
  • Stability; the appliance doesn’t become dislodged upon impact
  • Each patient’s unique bite
  • Relative dental and concussion risks of each sport; for example, a football mouth guard isn’t the same as a guard for basketball

OTC mouth guards can’t fulfill these requirements, because dental professionals are not overseeing their design and fabrication. Sports dentists also monitor fit and function and adjust as needed, based on factors like patient age, sport, and care of the appliance. Be your healthy best; choose the Smiles4OC dental team! Call (714) 557-0700.