Dental emergencies that occur while playing sports can be difficult and painful experiences. Here, our Clarenville dentists explain the dental injuries athletes commonly face as well as what to do about them and how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
What are common dental injuries athletes face?
The following dental injuries can be quite common in athletes, since they are often caused by a blow sustained to the head or face.
People are familiar with the image of an athlete with a missing tooth from television. This is because a knocked-out tooth is a commonly-occurring sports injury.
If your tooth is knocked out, try to locate it as soon as possible. Pick it up by the crown and avoid touching the root as much as possible. Rinse it off and place it back in the socket if you can and bit down gently to hold it in place.
If you are unable to put the tooth back into its socket, it’s imperative that it be kept 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 will get to the dentist's office within half an hour of the injury. If you see your dentist quickly enough, they may be able to save your tooth and place it back inside your smile.
Fractured Tooth Roots
If you take a hard blow to the face at the wrong angle and you may suffer from a fractured tooth root. In cases like this, the crack originates from the root of the tooth and will slowly make its way up to the crown.
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.
A patient with a tooth root fracture should have root canal therapy as soon as possible to prevent or treat infection.
Tooth intrusion is another painful injury that may occur when the tooth is driven back into the jawbone it is rooted in.
Children will experience this injury more often than adults will since their alveolar bones that hold their tooth sockets aren't as strong as in an adult mouth.
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.
Permanent intruded teeth will be given a chance to passively re-erupt. If this doesn't happen, orthodontic or surgical treatments may be required alongside endodontic attention.
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 kind of crack and its severity, your dentist may be able to repair it with a filling, crown or dental bonding treatment. In very severe cases, a root canal or extraction may be required. Visit your dentist as soon as possible for more information.
How to prevent sports injuries
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.