Contact sports may lead to dental trauma, which often can be reduced with appropriate preventive measures. While numerous studies exist on this topic for several countries throughout the world, there is a lack of comprehensive descriptive studies in Turkey. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence and type of dental injuries associated with three different sports among Turkish elite athletes, who do not contact (volleyball), contact directly (taekwondo) or indirectly (handball) with competition rivals. Additionally, awareness and use of mouthguards were also compared. Thus, during the 2003 and 2004 Turkish National Championships in three sports, 50 taekwondo, 62 handball and 50 volleyball male athletes were interviewed by questionnaire. Results showed that taekwondo and handball athletes experienced significantly more dental trauma than volleyball athletes (P < 0.05). Twelve of the taekwondo (24%), 16 of the handball (26%) and four of the volleyball athletes (8%) experienced at least one type of dental injury. Awareness of mouthguards as a preventive measure against dental trauma was significantly higher among taekwondo and handball athletes (P < 0.05), although a very small percentage in either of these sports actually wore a mouthguard (10 and 0%, respectively). Trauma incidence between direct contact with rival competitors and indirect contact with rival competitors was not significantly different. The incidence of dental trauma in contact sports shows that the awareness and use of mouthguards must be intensified. Mouthguard use should be made compulsory, especially in those sports with high risk for dental trauma.