For athletes, both amateur and professional, the chance of common teeth injuries is typical. In fact, every sport poses a risk for dental injury, but the more common teeth injuries are associated with the “contact sports”. Whatever the case, immediate assessment and management is key.
Some of the most common teeth injuries
With most common teeth injuries, immediate attention from a dentist is vital – it will make a big difference in completely saving the tooth and the tooth structure. While many tooth injuries are considered preventable (by wearing the appropriate protective equipment), the nature of sports makes injury more commonplace. In other words, most sports activities pose a risk of injury.
From the dentist’s perspective, and based on patient histories, the most common teeth injuries in sports actually fall into a few concise groupings. Importantly, mouth guards help with prevention.
- tooth fractures
- tooth intrusion
- tooth detachment
- jaw dislocation
When a tooth has been knocked out (avulsion), it’s quite possible to replace it, or re-implant it. The tooth must be handled carefully, without touching the root, and without wrapping it in any material. If possible, the tooth can be tightly repositioned back into its socket (immediately).
When a knocked-out tooth is already outside of the mouth, it mustn’t dry out – where possible it should be put into milk until a dentist can begin treatment. For best treatment results, a dentist should be providing emergency care within 30 minutes (after an hour, results are compromised).
Typically, cracked or chipped teeth can be restored by re-attaching the chipped piece, or by using dental filler. When a tooth is severely damaged, it may be necessary to restore with a “crown”. In some situations, when the inside of the tooth is damaged from injury, a root canal may be needed.
When the inside of a tooth is damaged (the pulp) there is no other option than immediate dental treatment. When this type of tooth damage occurs as a result of cracks, chips, or splits, the only possible restoration may be a root canal, and full “crowns”, in order to ensure full functionality.
Some injuries can cause a tooth to be dislodged, or moved out of position (dental luxation). With sports, this is quite common, and when treated immediately, the dentist can reposition the tooth. If there is no other tooth damage, the injured tooth can be held firmly in place by using a “splint”.
Depending on the actual damage, repositioning the tooth will allow the pulp and ligament to heal naturally. Needless to say, when the damage is more serious, a more involved dental treatment may be required (like a root). Here again, immediate emergency dental care is the key to success.
Teeth injuries should not be neglected
While many teeth injuries are considered minor (they often appear much worse than they are), professional dental treatment is essential for long-term recovery. Anything less can compromise the tooth’s integrity, and even affect the neighboring teeth. Negligence is not recommended here.