If you play sports then you are always at risk of suffering from a dental emergency. Our Coquitlam dentists discuss the most common sports-related dental emergencies and how to manage them.
What dental injuries are most commonly experienced by athletes?
Dental injuries in athletes typically occur when the injury affects the face directly.
Knocked Out Tooth
One of the most common similarities we may see in athletes is gaps from missing teeth due to various injuries they have sustained. This is because a knocked out tooth is one of the most common sports injuries.
The first thing you should do after your tooth has been knocked out is to find it. You should avoid touching the root if possible while picking it up. Rinse it off and place it back into the socket if you can, biting down gently to hold it in place.
If you cannot place the tooth back in its socket then you must keep it moist. Place the tooth in a cup of milk (not water) or your saliva, or in your mouth next to your cheek until you can get to your dentist’s office.
Ideally, you’ll get to the dentist’s office within 30 minutes of the injury. If you see your dentist quickly enough, they may be able to save your tooth.
Fractured Tooth Roots
A fractured tooth root can occur if you have been hit hard from an angle. In these cases, the crack originates from the roots of the tooth before making its way up the tooth.
It’s possible that you won’t feel any symptoms from a fractured tooth root. Since they are hidden below the gum line, they sometimes only become apparent when an infection grows in the pulp of the tooth.
One of the risks associated with tooth root fractures is an infection so a patient should have root canal therapy as soon as possible to avoid this complication.
Tooth intrusion occurs when the tooth is impacted into the jawbone due to a hard hit.
Children often experience this injury more than adults, as the alveolar bones that hold their tooth sockets are not as strong as those of adults.
Depending on whether it is a primary (baby) tooth or a permanent one, treatment will vary. In primary teeth, the dentist will allow the intruded tooth to spontaneously re-erupt, provided that it has not intruded into the developing adult tooth. If the tooth does not re-erupt, the dentist will remove it.
If the intruded tooth is permanent then there will be a chance that it may passively re-erupt. If re-eruption does not happen, surgical or orthodontic re-eruption treatment can be performed, along with endodontic treatment.
A cracked tooth involves a split or crack that begins at the crown and extends down into the tooth. If you have a cracked tooth, you may experience sharp pain when you bite down, intermittent tooth pain, or sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. You may also not experience any symptoms at all.
Depending on the type of crack and its severity, your dentist may repair it with a crown, filling or dental bonding. In very severe cases, a root canal or extraction may be necessary. If your tooth is cracked then you should contact and visit your dentist as soon as possible.
How you can prevent injuries while playing sports
Many dental emergencies that result from sports injuries can be prevented with a custom-made mouth guard, which acts as a barrier between your teeth and gums, and cushions your teeth from blows to the head or face.
If you play sports or engage in high-impact physical activities, talk to your dentist about a custom-made mouthguard today.