If you avidly play sports then you will always be at risk of injuries while participating, this includes the risk of having a dental emergency while playing. Here we discuss some of the most common dental emergencies that could happen while playing sports and how to manage them.
What are common dental injuries athletes face?
While playing sports, athletes commonly experience injuries to their face and head, which could result in dental emergencies.
One thing that we might recognize from watching sports on tv is the gaps that athletes commonly have from missing teeth. This is due to head and face injuries being a common occurrence and therefore many athletes experience dental trauma.
If your tooth is knocked out, attempt to locate it as soon as possible. Pick it up by the crown and avoid touching the root. Rinse it off and place it back into the socket if you can, biting 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’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
Fractured teeth can occur if you have been hit quite hard in the mouth directly affecting the teeth. In these cases, the crack originates from the roots of the tooth and makes it's way up.
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 an infection.
When the athlete's tooth is driven back into the jawbone it is referred to as tooth intrusion which can be an extremely painful condition.
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.
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.
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 involves a split or crack that begins at the crown and extends down into the tooth. If you have a cracked tooth then you may be extremely uncomfortable, 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 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 you can help to prevent dental emergencies while playing sports
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 then you may find great benefit in the use of a mouthguard while participating in these activities.
Have you experienced a dental emergency while playing a type of sport?
Our dentists will be able to assess you after a comprehensive examination and determine the best way to treat your dental emergency.