The last thing, professional athletes, need before the start of their season, is a toothache, infection, or a defective filling that can interrupt them during matches. They need to be in the ‘zone’, healthy and totally focused. Any health or oral problems, not only diminishes the players’ performance, but also impacts the entire team and the organization. This is why every year all professional athletes go through a complete medical and dental screening to make sure any condition that can potentially disrupt their performance is diagnosed and treated in advance.
As the team oral surgeon for DC United Soccer team, we collaborate with the team dentist to screen our players before the start of the season. We look for impacted wisdom teeth, decayed teeth, or defective fillings that can potentially flare up and keep them from playing their best.
The same rules apply to the rest of us. Anyone who works, attends school, or has any kind of responsibilities should have semi-annual screenings to keep them healthy and avoid problems that can disrupt daily life and activities. The unplanned emergency oral surgery like extraction of infected wisdom teeth and its recovery time can impact an individual’s performance at work by loss of productivity and income. Similarly, a student can miss important classes or exams.
We recommend ‘pre-season’ oral screening and treatments for the following individuals:
- High school or college students: Removal of wisdom teeth, ideally at age 16 or 17 before starting college and restoration of any teeth with defective fillings or caries.
- Starting a new job: You are excited about your new job and ready to show your best stuff. Make sure to see your dentist for a good overall check up and cleaning and avoid any problems that can make you miss work. Have problematic wisdom teeth removed to avoid infection and replace any missing teeth to help you smile and be more confident at work.
- Working or traveling abroad: Before going abroad and possibly to a remote area or a third world country, see your dentist for a thorough check-up and cleaning. Any teeth, which might be sources of infection, should be either extracted or treated endodontically if appropriate. Access to good oral care can be difficult in some areas, and any flare-ups will disrupt your work or vacation.
- Planning to have a baby: Have your teeth checked, cleaned, and treated before pregnancy as any treatment during the gestation period can be risky.
- Radiation or chemotherapy for cancer patients: Dental treatments following radiation or chemotherapy have increased risks of infection or healing complications. It is best to extract hopeless teeth and restore the others before initiating any cancer treatment.
Prevention is the best way to avoid surprises, disruption of everyday life, and costly treatments.