Sports dentistry includes the prevention and treatment of dental injuries and related oral diseases, as well as the sharing of information and equipment designed to help protect the teeth, mouth, jaw, and face of athletes of all ages.
Injuries to the teeth and mouth are common among athletes. It’s important to protect the smile while playing sports for aesthetics as well as for health.
Common dental injuries in sports include:
Tooth knocked out
- Time is the most important factor when trying to save a tooth, so get to the dentist as soon as possible. In general, there is a 30-minute window of opportunity to re-implant the tooth in the socket.
- Do not try to re-implant the tooth yourself.
- The best liquid to transport tooth in is cold milk. If milk is not available, use saliva (if possible), saline, or water if nothing else is available.
- Don’t let the tooth dry out and don’t wrap it in anything.
- Don’t touch the tooth root if you can avoid it.
- Primary teeth, often called “baby teeth,” are generally not re-implanted.
Tooth chipped or cracked
- Save the fractured portion of the tooth if you can locate it, and store it in saliva or milk until you’re able to reach our office. The dentist may be able to save the tooth by bonding the fractured portion back on to your tooth.
- Your dentist will likely use an X-ray of the tooth to determine the treatment necessary based on the severity of the injury.
- For a serious chip that exposes the pulp of the tooth, get to our office as soon as possible.
- If a tooth is chipped or cracked, sometimes it can be fixed with just a filling or bonding alone.
- Sometimes, a tooth is cracked or chipped in a way that the nerve is affected, and a more complicated treatment may be needed.
- If a tooth is moved due to trauma, see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Do not try to move the tooth back on your own.
- For any mouth discomfort before you get to the dentist, apply ice.
One of the best and most convenient ways to prevent injury to your teeth and mouth while playing sports is to wear a mouthguard. There are several types of mouthguards to choose from, and your doctor can help you choose the best one for your particular needs.