Sports dentistry is 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 your child's smile if he or she plays sports, for aesthetics as well as health reasons.
Common Dental Injuries in Sports
Tooth knocked out:
- Time is the most important factor when trying to save a tooth, so get to your 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 a tooth in is cold milk. If milk is not available, use saliva (if possible), saline, or if nothing else is available, water.
- 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.
- Your dentist will likely use an X-ray of the tooth to determine the treatment necessary.
- For a serious chip that exposes the pulp of the tooth, get to your dentist as soon as possible.
- If a tooth is chipped or cracked, sometimes the tooth can be fixed with a filling or bonding alone.
- Sometimes a tooth is cracked or chipped in a way affecting the nerve of the tooth, 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 ways to prevent injury to your child's teeth and mouth is to have him or her to wear a mouthguard while playing sports. There are several types of mouthguards to choose from, and your doctor can help you choose the best one for your child's particular needs.
Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Sports related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Dental Association that you wear a mouthguard.
Types of mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist. When you chose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. If you wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for you to wear a mouthguard. Your dentist can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water; it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
- Do not wear a retainer with your mouthguard. If you wear braces, your dentist will help design a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces.
- Do no chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard. Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes. Ask your dentist which is best for you.
- Bring your mouthguard to each dental checkup, and your dentist can check to make sure it's still in good shape!
Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports related injury to your smile. Be sure to ask your dentist about mouthguards at your next dental checkup - GO TEAM!