Playing it safe by guarding your smile

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rebeccah Woodrow
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

With the onset of summer weather, sports on Incirlik Air Base are in full swing. However, with more people playing sports comes the potential of increased injuries.


According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is more likely to sustain harm to the teeth area when a mouth guard is not used, which could include jaw injuries, broken teeth, and cuts to the lips, cheeks or gums.


“We normally get on average 3-to-5 sports-related trauma a month,” explained U.S. Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Sharon Aradine, 39th Medical Operations Squadron dentist. “The cases we have seen range from a simple chip repair, to a broken jaw and everything in-between.”


Fortunately, many of these injuries are preventable thanks to the help of the 39th MDOS dental clinic.


“The dental clinic is both proactive and reactive when it comes to sports,” said Aradine. “We make guards to prevent dental injuries, but also treat any trauma that may be caused from not wearing a sports guard.”


Service members are able to obtain mouth guards by visiting the dental clinic and having one created the same day.


The process to make a custom mouth guard is quick and simple. An impression is taken using a powder and water mixture that is placed into a mouth tray to take a mold of the patient’s teeth.  After setting for approximately 45 seconds, the impression is then filled to create a hard cast of the teeth. The hard cast is then covered with a flexible plastic, which results in the patient’s finished guard.


“At the clinic [mouth guards] are not only free, but are custom to your teeth, which means they are less bulky, less noticeable, easier to talk with, and provide better protection to your teeth,” said Aradine.


For more information on sports guards or any dental requests, please contact the 39th MDOS dental clinic at 676-6104.