With the increasing popularity of competitive sports among youth, the incidence of sports related injuries to the mouth and face has also seen an increase. The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reports that the most common injuries sustained to this region of the body involve the teeth. However, the likelihood of dental injuries during sport participation can be reduced by more than 60 times by simply wearing a mouth guard. Mouth guards cover the upper teeth, minimizing the risk of tooth damage, while also protecting the lips, tongue, and inner-lining of the cheeks.
There are three types of tooth injuries that can occur. Remember in the case of each type of dental injury, it is crucial to properly care for the tooth and seek a dental professional immediately.
• Root fracture, broken tooth, chipped tooth
o Have the individual gently bite down on a towel to stabilize the tooth and reduce bleeding.
o Transport any tooth fragments in milk, saline, or under the individual’s tongue to a dentist immediately.
• Tooth entirely knocked out
o Handle tooth by the crown, not root.
o Gently rinse tooth with water, but do not scrub or sterilize it.
o If possible, place tooth back in socket and have the individual gently bight down on a towel. Otherwise, transport the tooth to a dentist as outlined above.
• Tooth still in socket, but displaced (pushed up, back, or forward).
o Transport the individual to a dentist immediately to increase the chances of tooth survival.
The American Dental Association recommends wearing mouth guards for sports involving high impact or collision, including basketball, boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, skateboarding, soccer, and wrestling. The best mouth guards are custom made by your dentist to ensure proper fit and comfort. At Quail Ridge Dental, we make custom mouth guards that come in a variety of colors and can be personalized with any number and/or team logo.
Remember, damaged teeth do not grow back. Protect your smile – wear a mouth guard!