A dental emergency while playing sports can be scary – and painful. Our Calgary dentists discuss common dental injuries athletes face, what to do and how to prevent them.
What are common dental injuries athletes face?
The following dental injuries are common in athletes, as they are usually the result of a blow to the head or face.
Knocked Out Tooth
We often see athletes on television and the field with gaps in their teeth. This is because a knocked-out tooth is a common sports injury.
If you have a missing tooth, try to find it as soon as possible. Avoid touching the root by picking it up by the crown. Rinse it off and, if possible, replace it in the socket, biting down gently to keep it in place.
If you are unable to put the tooth back into its socket, it must be kept moist. Place the tooth in a cup of milk (not water) or your saliva, or 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
Take a hard hit from the wrong angle and you could suffer a fractured tooth root. In these cases, the crack originates from the roots of the tooth and makes it's way up.
It is possible that you will not experience any symptoms as a result of a fractured tooth root. Because they are hidden beneath the gum line, they may not be noticed until an infection develops 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 the infection.
Tooth intrusion is another painful condition that occurs when the tooth is driven back into the jawbone.
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.
Treatment will differ depending on whether it is a primary (baby) tooth or a permanent tooth. If the intruded tooth has not intruded into the developing adult tooth, the dentist will allow it to re-erupt spontaneously. If the tooth fails to re-erupt, the dentist will extract it.
A permanent intruded tooth will also be given the chance to 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 is defined by a split or crack that runs from the crown down into the tooth. When you bite down on a cracked tooth, you may experience sharp pain, intermittent tooth pain, or sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. You could also have no 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. See your dentist as soon as possible.
How to prevent sports injuries
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, can prevent many dental emergencies caused by sports injuries.
If you play sports or engage in high-impact physical activities, talk to your dentist about a custom-made mouthguard today.