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What Are Some of the Most Common Dental Emergencies for Athletes?

August 11, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — westarvada @ 10:23 pm
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Sports have many health benefits such as exercise, sunshine, and social interaction, but they can come with some pressing dental concerns, mainly the potential to cause an oral injury. Football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and soccer all involve a lot of flying objects and swinging elbows, and these can make an emergency dental appointment necessary if a blow is sustained to the mouth. Here are some of the most common dental emergencies among athletes along with some advice for preventing them.

Broken Teeth

While chips typically occur at the corner of the tooth and are often painless, cracks usually happen near the root, resulting in mild to severe pain. A fracture, on the other hand, starts as a breakage of the root and works its way up to the surface of the tooth. A fractured tooth can go unnoticed for quite some time as the damage remains below the visible part, but if left untreated, fractures can cause even more severe pain and infection. Even if they seem minor, broken and fractured teeth require immediate dental attention to prevent tooth loss.

In some cases, a sports injury can result in a tooth intrusion, during which a tooth is pushed back into the jawbone. This can result in root damage, destruction of the pulp of the tooth, or ankylosis (fusing of the root of an injured tooth to the alveolar bone). Left untreated, an intruded tooth can be lost, meaning that it should be assessed and resolved at once.

Dislodged Teeth

When a tooth is knocked completely from its socket, it can be reimplanted but the chances of it being saved begin to fall after thirty minutes. It is imperative to arrive at the dentist’s office as soon as possible, so follow these steps to get there safely:

  1. Carry the tooth by the crown without ever touching the root. If it is dirty, swish it in a bowl of lukewarm water without scrubbing.
  2. Place the tooth back in its socket while holding it in position by biting some gauze on top of it. If this is not possible, hold it within the lip, the cheek, a container with a little saliva, or a cup of milk. (You can buy products that can keep a dislodged tooth in savable condition at many pharmacies, so you might want to include some of them in your athletic first aid kit.)
  3. Call your emergency dental office to let them know you’re coming as you start making your way there.

How Can Dental Injuries Be Prevented While Playing Sports?

The best way to avoid dental injuries while playing sports is to get a mouthguard from your dentist and wear it on the field. While a store-bought product is preferable to no protection, a mouthguard from the dentist’s office will be superior to any similar product you can get at the store because it will be specially crafted to fit your teeth, providing your smile with the cushion it needs to remain intact when under sudden and unexpected pressure. This way, you can rest assured of being able to flash a full and healthy grin from the winner’s circle.

About the Author

Dr. Jeramiah Paylor earned his dental doctorate at the University of Colorado before pursuing state-of-the-art training from the Scottsdale Center, SPEAR Education, and the Colorado Prosthodontic Society. He decided to become a dentist so he could have a long-standing connection with people in need. His practice in Arvada, CO specializes in general, restorative, cosmetic, pediatric, and emergency dentistry such as treatments for sports injuries. If you need an emergency appointment for a sports-related dental injury, contact his office online or dial (720) 776-4900.

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