To describe trends in sports-related dental injuries reported to ACC in the past 10 years.
Retrospective case series.
De-identified data on orofacial injuries were obtained from ACC for the financial years 1999-2008, and new claims were identified for each year (with recurring claims omitted from the analysis). Patterns in new-claim data were identified by age, sex, region and the sport involved. Trends in claims for the sport categories were also identified
The annual number of claims ranged from 24,998 to 31,257; overall, 38.7% of claims were made by females and 61.3% by males, and these proportions remained largely unchanged during the observation period. For sports-related claims, those aged 11-20 years had the highest percentage of claims (with between 41.7% and 44.4%, depending on year) while those older than 60 had the smallest percentage of claims, with 0.5% to 1.1%. Sport was involved in 20.6% to 26.2% of new claims. The highest percentage of injuries was attributable to rugby (between 22.2% and 33.1%, depending on the year). Water sports contributed to between 14.2% and 20.8% of claims. Cycling increased from 1.5% in 1999 to 15.3% in 2006, and then decreased to 10.6% in 2008. Hockey, basketball, soccer, cricket and netball had 4.4%, 4.8%, 6.9%, 4.7% and 3.9% respectively.
Although its share has decreased in recent years, rugby remained the greatest contributor to sport-related orofacial injuries, with water sports consistently second (cycling had the largest change, with a rapid increase in the past 3 years). There is a need to re-examine mouthguard (and other injury prevention) policies for particular sports.