Fracture of facial bones and dental elements, and laceration of soft tissue, have increased in sports over recent years. Dentist is the only professional responsible for the mouth protection design, the knowledge about suitable materials is essential. EVA is a thermoplastic material, available in the market, easy of handling and processing, and low-cost. However, it is important to understand the mechanical properties and ability to absorb and to dissipate the impact energy, when this material is submitted to different environments, such as oral cavity with saliva and different temperatures. This chapter show provides a systematic evaluation of the EVA application in orofacial protectors while focusing on sports. The research comprises two aspects: experimental tests and numerical analyses. During experimental tests, EVA was analyzed in special buccal conditions, concerning temperature and presence of saliva. Regarding the presence of saliva, more specific studies about its influence on the mechanical behavior of EVA were performed. In the numerical analyses of the EVA orofacial protector, the studies focused on its effect on the nasal bone integrity, and in the zygomatic bone protection. However, life cycle should be analyzed, since its performance deteriorates over time. Mainly due to the saliva-originated changes to the EVA mechanical characteristics, it can behave as a rigid material. For facial protection, a better performance is obtained with a combination of rigid and soft EVA material. According to the experimental and numerical results from a systematic study of EVA, its application to orofacial protection can be considered satisfactory.
Part of the book: Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine