One of the questions we ask every new patient who comes in for a comprehensive dental exam at my dental school is this:
Do you wear your seat belt?
Why We Ask New Dental Patients If They Wear Their Seat Belt
This question is part of a form that we go through to assess our patients’ risk of dental disease. A lot of people are caught off guard when we ask them about their seat belt usage. In fact, when I first got into clinic, I thought it was a rather irrelevant question. However, as I’ve been studying for my final exams, I found an interesting sentence in my oral surgery book that made this question hit home to me. It says:
The major causes of facial fractures include motor vehicle accidents and altercations. Other causes of injuries include falls, sports-related incidents, and work-related accidents. Facial fractures resulting from motor vehicle accidents are far more frequent in persons who were not wearing restraints at the time of the accident.
Seat Belts Aren’t Just for Saving Lives
Many people don’t bother to put on their seat belts because they know that the chances are very small that they will be killed as a result of not wearing their seat belt.
What I think most people don’t realize is that by not wearing their seat belt, they are drastically increasing the chances that they will fracture a tooth or even worse, fracture bones on their face when they get in an accident.
If you’re getting relaxed about your seat belt wearing, know that if you get in an accident you are putting yourself at a much higher risk of getting a head injury. It’s extra important during the holiday season when people can drive a little bit crazier!
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