DENTAL SPORTS INJURIES

Dental sports injuries, particularly in contact sports such as rugby and ball games like cricket and hockey, are increasingly common. Many dental emergencies are a result of oral injury from a sporting event. Adults, teenagers and children may all experience dental sports injuries.

An oral or dental injury as a result of a sporting activity may lead to tooth damage, tooth loss, oral infection and a loss of confidence. Toothache, jaw pain and oral discomfort may also cause headaches and pain radiating through the face and into the neck and back.

Therefore, treating a dental sports injury as an emergency by contacting an emergency dentist for treatment will enable the injured party to receive the dental care they need for pain relief, tooth restoration and healthy oral function. Serious dental injuries may lead to medical emergencies. At the very least the injured person should be checked by an emergency dentist if their mouth is injured.

Mouth injuries can affect eating choices, chewing ability, appetite and word pronunciation for speech. If left untreated teeth may compensate for the injury by moving out of the natural tooth position, thus resulting in misaligned teeth and malocclusion. Orthodontic care may then be required but can be avoided through proper emergency dental care.

Sporting Injuries and Dental Emergencies

An oral injury may not reveal its severity until after a sporting event. However, once an oral injury does occur it is better to stop the sporting activity and seek emergency dental care immediately. This is partly to prevent further oral trauma and partly to receive medical assessment so holistic care may be provided. A dentist may need to refer an individual to a doctor for further evaluation of their injury.

If any of these incidents occur during a sporting activity or from physical contact, an emergency dentist should be contacted for treatment within an hour. Having a coach, carer or parent provide care is not a replacement for professional dental assessment and treatment.

Receiving proper dental and medical care for sporting injuries is essential for healthy recovery from trauma. Typical sports injuries requiring emergency treatment include:

 

  • A knocked out or avulsed tooth
  • A fractured, broken, split, chipped or cracked tooth
  • A dislodged tooth or teeth forced into the gum line and jaw
  • Oral cuts to the gums, jaws, tongue, mouth and lips
  • Damage to orthodontic devices or tooth restorations

Dental emergencies and immediate dental care

Oral injury may accompany other injuries to the head, neck, back or limbs. Priority should be given to head injuries or concussion and immediate medical care sought. Emergency dental care may follow once the individuals head injury is assessed for brain damage.

With any injury to the head and face the injured party should stop the sporting activity to receive medical and dental assessment. Where teeth are dislodged or lost an emergency dentist should provide treatment within an hour to try and save the tooth. Keeping the tooth and pressing it back into the tooth socket may alleviate some bleeding and stimulate gum tissue. Doing so may save the existing tooth and dental structure.

Pressing cotton wool or sugar-free gum onto the fractured or broken tooth may help reduce pain and tooth sensitivity caused by the exposure of inner tooth dentin and dental pulp. Emergency dental care provides relief for the pain, restores the tooth and prevents dental infection from developing.

Individuals who have experienced an oral injury should not drive themselves to an emergency dentist, but rather have someone else transport them or use a taxi. A case of head injury or concussion may leave them vulnerable to further accident.

Leaving the oral injury untreated by a dental professional is not recommended as infection may set in. Oral trauma may escalate, normal eating and speaking may be impeded and dental and jaw disorders can develop. Malocclusion and jaw irregularities can cause other health complications, such as head pain and migraine or pain radiation into the face, neck and back.

Having the severity of the sports injury evaluated by an emergency dentist enables referral to a medical professional, where needed dental treatment to aid healthy recovery can be provided.

Preventing dental sports injuries

Dentists recommend wearing a sports mouth guard to prevent oral injury during sports. These mouth shields are custom-made to fit an individual’s oral dimensions and sporting needs. Sports mouth guards are made of different materials, thickness and for different sporting purposes.

Individuals who wear sports mouth guards are less likely to incur oral injuries as their mouth, teeth and gums are protected from harm. Mouth guards are now designed for comfort and to encourage healthy breathing and speaking during wear.

For further information about sports mouth guards and the range of mouth guards available, get in touch with our clinic by phone or email. A member of our friendly team will make an appointment to assess your sporting and oral protection needs. The mouth guard treatments for older adults may differ from those available for young people, but our dentist will explain what mouth guard treatments are most appropriate in each case.

What are dental injuries?

A dental injury is when there is a trauma to all parts of the mouth including the teeth, gums, bones, or tissues such as the lips and tongue. Playing sports is one of the highest reasons for a dental injury to occur. Wearing a mouthguard can decrease the chances of a dental injury during sports.

Which sport has the most injuries per year?

It has been proven that Ireland has one of the highest rates of dental sports injuries in all of Europe. A quarter of all mouth injuries happened during sports. Over half of all of the dental injuries caused by sports occurred in Gaelic football and had an effect on their teeth.

Can a tooth die after being hit?

Once a tooth has been hit with a blunt force there is a possibility of it dying. In some cases, a tooth may die quickly after the trauma occurred whereas sometimes it can take months or years for a tooth to die after an injury. It is important to get the tooth checked regularly by your dentist so they can keep an eye on if the tooth is still alive. If a tooth is dying a patient will usually feel pain or develop an abscess. If a tooth is dying it will need root canal treatment.

What should I do if I knock out my tooth?

  • Find the tooth to bring to the dentist. Make sure to pick it up at the crown end and not the root.
  • Rinse the tooth with water to remove and dirt and debris.
  • Keep the tooth moist by placing it in milk or keeping it in your mouth.
  • Gently clean away any dirt from the gum where the tooth has come out of.
  • Place a cold compress on the gum to prevent swelling
  • Get to an emergency dentist as soon as possible. The faster you get there the higher the chance of the tooth being able to be put back in.

What to do if you hit your tooth and its loose?

If you get a blunt force to a tooth and it becomes loose it is important to get straight to your dentist. They may be able to place a splint to keep the tooth in position for the gum to grow around it and tighten it up again. Try to avoid hard foods while the tooth is healing to prevent it getting any looser.

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