For parents who have children that play a sport, or adults who still engage in contact sports on evenings and weekends, it remains imperative that precautions are taken that prevent damage from occurring to an athlete’s teeth and mouth.
Injuries to the face that effect a person’s teeth and gums occur fairly commonly, especially for athletes who play extremely physical sports. Because around 80 percent of all dental injuries affect one or more of the front teeth and often cause gum damage, these types of injuries can affect a person’s ability to smile, eat, drink, and talk.
Sports injuries ranks at the primary cause of tooth and mouth injuries to teenagers and adults, causing approximately 40 percent of all dental injuries to these age groups. To prevent a sports-related injury, kids and adults should consider using:
- Mouth guards: By far the most effective way of preventing injury when participating in a sport is by wearing a mouth guard. The use of a guard provides additional protect to your teeth that can prevent cracking, breaking, chipping, or knockout if struck in the face.
- Face Cages: Offering even more protection against face trauma then a mouth guard, face cages can prevent anything from directly striking the face during a sporting contest, and work especially well for kids who play ice or field hockey.
- Helmets: Even though wearing a helmet won’t directly protect the health of the athlete’s teeth or gums, it does protect the head, and can help to prevent concussions. Concussed players may lose the facilities to protect themselves while engaged in a sporting activity, which could expose their head and mouth to further damage.
Repairing Sports-Related Injuries
The most common question asked about sports related injuries is whether or not knocked out teeth can be repaired. Fortunately for those suffering tooth loss as a result of a sporting injury, knocked out teeth can be repaired.
The teeth that have the highest chance of being restored are those brought to Dr. Williams’ office and returned to their socket within one hour of becoming displaced. When a tooth gets knocked out, carefully rinse off any debris that has accumulated on the root of the tooth, and place it back into the socket. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, hold it in your mouth until you reach the office. If you have no other options, store the tooth in a shallow cup of milk until arriving at Dr. Williams’ office.
Even in cases where a tooth cannot be restored, you have options that will restore your smile. Dental implants act as an anchor for freestanding artificial teeth referred to as dental crowns. The implant is anchored directly to the jawbone, and the crown fits to the implant to provide a replacement tooth that looks exactly like the rest of your teeth. Once the crown has been installed, you should have no problems with eating, chewing, or looking your best.
If you have any questions about how to protect your or a family members’ teeth while playing sports, talk with Dr. Williams’ during your next appointment.