Summer is almost here once again, and children all around Colorado are counting the days until school lets out. The onset of summer also creates a wealth of activities to stay active and participate in sports around the community. While staying active is extremely important both for children and adults, there is a danger that can impact your overall dental health, not just now but for the rest of your life. Today we’re talking about sports injuries, which make up the majority of tooth damage cases for Lakewood dentists. Let’s talk about how sports injuries can impact your teeth and how you can protect you and your children from them.
Of course none of us sign up for a sport thinking that we’ll lose a tooth or become injured playing it, but unfortunately it happens every year to some participants. Children are especially at risk. First off, they may be just learning the sport or activity, which often leads to a higher instance of collisions and accidents. These injuries can happen when they are playing alone as well, like riding a bike. This said, adults can sustain sports related injuries just as easily. At times, it may because they don’t think they need to wear proper equipment like a mouthguard. No matter the age, a sports-related dental injury can have a lasting impact on anyone. Let’s take a closer look at what to do if someone sustains an injury to their teeth.
There are different levels of dental injuries that occur in sports, and being able to accurately diagnose them will help preserve any teeth that are injured. Remember, sports often occur on weekends when the dentist may not be immediately available. Because of this, it pays to know what you’re dealing with if you’re a parent or fellow participant on the field. Let’s look at three circumstances and how you should react.
THE TOOTH IS KNOCKED OUT
Needless to say, when a tooth is knocked out of its socket, it is a pressing dental emergency. A tooth can die in a matter of minutes if it is not properly cared for after an accident. First and foremost, you’ll want to get the tooth back into its natural environment. As soon as the situation becomes evident, search for the tooth and find it as quickly as possible. Don’t hesitate to stop the game and request the help of everyone around, but ask them not to pick the tooth up by the root. Every minute that passes reduces the chances of saving the tooth.
Once found, quickly rinse the tooth with a bottle of water or tap water if close, but do not scrape or touch the root. It is a very sensitive area, and any contact with the hand can damage it. Once clean, insert the tooth back into the slot it fell out of and instruct the injured person to hold it in place. Don’t worry about getting things exact. Just get it back into the slot and get to your Lakewood Dentist as soon as possible. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, have the inured person hold it in their cheek (careful not to swallow it). For young children, you can store the tooth in milk. Some bleeding in this circumstance is natural, and try to stay calm until you can get to the dentist. If they are closed, head to your nearest ER or urgent care facility.
THE TOOTH IS VERY LOOSE
Often a tooth may sustain damage but it will not fall out. This is a less-serious injury than when a tooth is knocked out, but it is still one worth treating as soon as possible. While it may not be a matter of minutes, treatment should be administered in a matter of a few hours. In circumstances like this, the tooth may be knocked up into the gum, pulled down partially out of the socket, or pushed side to side. No matter which way it is impacted, it will need to be placed back in proper position as soon as possible. The longer it stays out of position, the more potential there is for long term issues. As long as the tooth is still in the mouth, don’t worry about adjusting it. Simply head to your Lakewood dentist or contact the local ER or urgent care facility for care advice.
THE TOOTH IS CHIPPED OR CRACKED
Finally, there are times where the tooth remains intact in its socket but becomes chipped or cracked. This is the least pressing of dental sports injuries, but you will want to get to your Lakewood dentist as soon as possible, ideally early the next morning at the latest. If you can find the chipped fragments of the tooth, keep them as often the dentist can use them to repair the tooth. If the injured party experiences pain in the injured site until you can get to the dentist, administer a pain killer and gently ice the injured area through the cheek being careful not to apply too much pressure.
No matter your age, you should thoroughly think out how to keep yourself safe and healthy whenever you participate in a sport or activity. This is no time to play it cool, and after all, it is much better to be safe and protect against worse case scenarios than spend the rest of your life dealing with missing teeth. The easiest way to know how to prepare for an active sport as far as oral health goes is to schedule an appointment with your Lakewood dentist. Often they will recommend a custom mouthguard, which we cover in more detail in Benefits Of Athletic Mouthguards.
As we close this article, it may seem a little off-topic, but the use of sports drinks and sugary beverages on sidelines can also impact the dental health of both adults and children. This is due to the sugar content of many sports beverages. Yes the replenishment of electrolytes is all the rage in marketing these sports drinks, but often they pose an oral health risk that many aren’t aware of when they consume these beverages. These activities can last several hours, and the sugar from sports drinks will remain on teeth until brushed or rinsed off. To prevent this decay, opt for sugar-free sports drinks or simply consume water instead. While this certainly isn’t as pressing as a sports injury, it can effect your long term dental health as well!