Incidence of orofacial injuries in high school sports

Brent Kvittem, Nancy A. Hardie, Mark A Roettger, John Conry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study determined the incidence of orofacial injuries in athletes attending seven neighboring Minnesota high schools who participated in varsity soccer, wrestling, and basketball during the 1996-97 academic year. Methods: Incidence was determined through athletes' written surveys and athletic trainer records. Results: Survey response rates ranged from 86.3 percent to 94.0 percent among schools for all sports. The incidence rate of at least one orofacial injury per athlete in a season was 27.6 percent (SD=20.2) in soccer, 72.3 percent (SD=9.3) in wrestling, and 55.4 percent (SD=23.9) in basketball. Ten percent of athletes sustained dental injuries. Fixed orthodontic appliances posed a higher risk for sustaining an injury in all sports. The games-to-practices ratios for injuries were 6.8 (soccer), 1.2 (wrestling), and 1.8 (basketball). Half of the athletes believed mouthguards prevent injuries; however, only 6 percent of the athletes reported mouthguard use. Athletic trainers reported eight orofacial injuries. Conclusions: The substantial rate of orofacial injuries among high school athletes participating in soccer, wrestling, and basketball needs to be minimized. Dentists should ask their adolescent patients routinely about sports participation. Policies should be developed to require school officials to report orofacial injuries, to inform athletes of their risk for orofacial injuries, and to consider mandated mouthguard use for these athletes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-293
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Public Health Dentistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adolescence
  • Dental injuries
  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Orofacial injuries
  • Sports


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