It can be scary (and painful) to experience a dental emergency while playing sports. In this blog, our Comox dentists share what to do when you encounter different dental emergencies or injuries during sports, and how you can prevent them.
Dental Injuries Often Faced by Athletes
The dental injuries listed below are common in athletes because they are generally caused by a blow to the head or face.
Often we see athletes on the field and television with gaps in their teeth. This is the result of a knocked-out tooth, which is a common sports injury.
If one of your teeth gets knocked out, try to find it as quickly as possible. If you can locate it, pick it up by the crown and avoid touching the root. Rinse the tooth and if you are able, put it back into the socket biting down gently to hold it in place.
If you can't put the tooth back into the socket, you need to keep it moist. Place the tooth in a cup of milk (not water) or your saliva, or keep it in your mouth next to your cheek until you get to your dentist’s office.
Ideally, you should get to your dentist’s office within 30 minutes of the injury. If you can see your dentist fast enough, they might be able to rescue your tooth.
Fractured Tooth Roots
Take a hard hit from the wrong angle and you could suffer a fractured tooth root. In these cases, the crack originates from the roots of the tooth and makes its 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 fractured tooth root should have root canal therapy as quickly as possible in order to treat or prevent an infection.
Tooth intrusion is another painful condition that occurs when the tooth is driven back into the jawbone.
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 consists of a crack or split that starts at the crown and goes down into the tooth. If one of your teeth has a crack, you might feel a sharp pain when you bite down, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, intermittent tooth pain, or no symptoms at all.
Depending on the type of crack and its severity, your dentist might repair it with a crown, filling or dental bonding. In very severe cases, a root canal or extraction could be needed. See your dentist as fast as possible.
How to Prevent Dental Injuries While Playing Sports
Many dental emergencies that are caused by 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, talk to your dentist about a custom-made mouthguard today.