Sports Dentistry?

 National, Regional and International Historical Review

(Globally, in Egypt and my new journey in Kuwait)

In ever-expanding numbers, males and females from all age groups are participating in and enjoying the multiple benefits of sports. Poor dental health can limit athletic abilities to train and compete at their best performance. Medical care and therapy must be available to keep these athletes healthy during training, and to assist them in fast returning to competition after injury. Sport psychiatrists, coaches, technical officials and many others must all work together to ensure that a consistent and productive environment is present for these athletes.

Recently, It would appear that the sporting community has gained one important area, that being the role that dentistry and oral health in allowing athletes to compete safely and at their optimal level. Dental abscess, bleeding gums, painful TMJ (Tempro-Mandibular Joint) or fracture of teeth and/or jaw are just examples, and there are many unfortunate cases where this has indeed occurred.

Unfortunately, Inherent risk accompanies participation in sports. Contact sports present an increase in the probability that a serious injury could occur.

Moreover, vigorous physical activities are no longer restricted to adult males.  Similarly to their male counterparts, females who participate in sports, across all age groups, are subjected to the possibility of sustaining traumatic dental injuries.

Since  1950,  the  American Dental  Association  (ADA) and  its members  have  actively engaged  in promoting  better dental  health  among athletes.

The Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) was founded in 1983 in San Antonio, Texas. The ASD serves as a forum for dentists, physicians, athletic trainers, coaches, dental technicians, and educators interested in exchanging ideas related to Sports Dentistry and the dental needs of athletes at risk to sports’ injuries.

Recently, Sports Dentistry has spawned a new word; sportsdentistry.

The Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) gave the following definition: Sports Dentistry involves the prevention and treatment of orofacial athletic injuries and related oral diseases, as well as the collection and dissemination of information on dental athletic injuries and the encouragement of research in the preventive of such injuries.

The ASTM defined the mouth protector (mouth guard or mouthguard) as “a resilient device or appliance placed inside the mouth (or inside and outside), to reduce mouth injuries, particularly to the teeth and surrounding structures”.

History of athletic mouthguards:

The first reported mouthguard was made by Woolf Krause in 1892. Others claimed that Jacob Marks, in London, invented the athletic mouthguard in the early 1900s. Before that, boxers frequently placed cotton, gutta-percha and other materials between their lips and teeth for protection. Marks fabricated a custom-fit rubber strip that fit securely under the lips and over the outer surfaces of the teeth and gingiva. Ted Lewis, a successful British boxer, wore a “gum shield“ fabricated by Marks.

What had helped in popularizing its use among boxers that on February 7, 1921, Lewis fought Jack Britton, whose camp protested Lewis’ use of a mouthpiece. Shortly after the match, boxing officials declared mouthguards illegal; however, officials later changed their ruling and mouthguards have become a part of regular boxing equipment.

In the 1950s, several dental societies started making mouthguards for American football teams. The National Alliance Football Rules Committee adopted a mandatory mouthguard rule for high schools and junior colleges in 1962 and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) added mouthguards to the list of mandatory football equipment in 1973.

As of 2003, football, boxing, ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse are the only sports in the U.S. that require players to use a mouthguard. For sports where a dental injury might occur, such as rugby and basketball, athletes use mouth protection on a limited, voluntary basis.

The Working Group on Dentistry of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission has recommended the following steps to the National Olympic Committees before attending Sydney Olympic Games:

  1. Establishment of a screening program for all athletes and mission staff prior to the Olympic Games.
  2. Arrangement for necessary dental care to be completed well in advance of the Olympic Games.
  3. All the requests for dental treatment would be submitted to the Sydney Olympic Games Organizing Committee on behalf of any athlete who had been unable to obtain required immediate and necessary dental care.
  4. An annual dental assessment for all elite national athletes was required.
  5. Development of a network of dentists to assist in the provision of dental care for athletes, and assist athletes with the financial or logistical aspects of obtaining necessary treatment.
  6. Achievement of an active role in educating athletes on issues relating to dental health.
  7. Improvement of event dental coverage for certain high-risk sports by having a dentist either on-site or immediately on-call.
  8. Creation of a program to provide top quality mouth guards to athletes competing in high-risk sports. A request for mouthguards would be submitted to the Sydney Olympic Games Organizing Committee on behalf of any athlete in a designated high-risk sport who had been unable to arrange for a mouthguard to be made prior to the Games.

In Egypt …

On the local official level, at 1986, the General Administration of Sports Medicine, at Egyptian Supreme Council for Youth and Sports (currently, Egyptian Ministry for Youth and Sports) had hired two dentists to provide the dental service to athletes at Gezira Sports Medicine Hospital. These two dentists were Dr. Yasser Tawfik (the owner of this site) and Dr. Maha Esmat (currently, Head of the Dental Department, Sports Medicine Specialized Center (SMSC)).

In 1987, as a grant from the Japanese Government, those two dentists, had established and practiced in the first Sports Dentistry clinic in Egypt in Japan Budo Center at Zohour Sporting Club, Nasr City, Cairo.

Recently, beside two Sports Dentistry Departments in two Sports Medicine Centers (Hospitals) in Cairo and Tanta, the Higher Directorate of Sports Medicine at Egyptian Ministry for Youth and Sports is on its way to make a soft opening of new Sports Dentistry Clinics at seven different governorates throughout Egypt.

In January 2000, The Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) established a Working Group on Dentistry to deal with some of these dental issues that directly affect athletes, their health and their performance.

Most of the recommendations of Working Group on Dentistry had been conducted in Gezira Sports Medicine Specialized Hospital, Cairo, Egypt since 1991. Now, as been the Senior Dental Consultant in Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports, the adopted Sports Dentistry service policy includes the following strategy in treatment plan sequence on dealing with Egyptian national athletes:

  1. Comprehensive general dental care should be provided to athletes.
  2. Treatment will in general be accomplished as follows:
  3. Screening Evaluation (initial Appointment). The whole team is invited once a year and prior to the important Continental and International games.
  4. Radiographs (X-rays) and study casts are done as necessary.
  5. Diagnosis – determination of athlete’s oral and dental health status and the proposed plan of treatment including alternative treatment.
  6. Start of the agreed treatment, which is financially covered by different Egyptian Olympic, Paralympic and Non-Olympic Federations for their teams.


Sports Medicine Specialized Center (SMSC) Nasr City, Cairo-Egypt.


Dr. Yasser Tawfik in room (1), a picture back to 2004.


The Egyptian Sports Dentistry Group (EGSD) was established of a group of dentists strongly interested in continuing education, lecturing, teaching, and promoting sports dentistry to dentists, physicians, coaches and athletes. For many years, some members of this group helped generously in many social and scientific events.

In May, 2005, one of their most featured events was a two days symposium and hands-on course on mouthguards fabrication. This successful symposium was organized by both EGSD and SMSC.

First Symposium on Sports
Dentistry and Dental Trauma
5-6 May 2005

In Kuwait …


To Be Continued …