Sports Injuries That Require Emergency Dental Care
The risk of injury in sports is widely known, and with the popularity of sports participation on the rise, so too rises the occurrence of emergency dental trauma. Professional, amateur and child athletes are all at risk of needing immediate dental care as a result of sports. When a dental emergency occurs, the affected player must be immediately removed from the activity and seen by an emergency dentist.
Sports and dental trauma: The risks
While contact sports such as football or boxing carry an innately higher risk of dental trauma than non-contact sports, all athletic activities pose at least some risk. Possible sports-related dental traumas include tooth fractures, tooth displacement and fractured roots.
The crown of a tooth can easily become chipped or cracked during athletic play. Some of these injuries are minor and only require eventual, not immediate, attention. Full fractures or large chips, however, are dental emergencies that should be seen to immediately.
Teeth are commonly knocked out of place or knocked out all together as a result of sports injuries. If the tooth is completely expelled, it should be carefully rinsed (do not touch the root) and placed back in its socket before travelling to the dentist. If this is not feasible, place the tooth in milk and bring the container along.
If a tooth is loosened or knocked into a different position, it should be immediately addressed to make sure the tooth is not permanently damaged and to readjust it if possible. Leaving an extruded tooth untreated can stress or damage the teeth around it.
Finally, tooth intrusion is also possible. This is when the tooth is driven back into the jawbone. This is a serious medical condition that requires swift emergency dental treatment.
A fractured root
An unlucky blow to the jaw can fracture the root of a tooth without immediately damaging the visible crown. In this instance, a fracture will splice up the tooth from the root up. The fracture will frequently be invisible, and the damage may not be noticed until an infection develops, causing pain.
Root canal therapy can help in this situation but becomes less effective the more time passes. It is essential that a dentist be consulted as soon as symptoms are noticed. If a severe blow to the jaw occurs, it is advisable to seek the advice of a dentist whether or not symptoms present. This way potential root damage can be caught early.
Preventing sports-related dental injuries
Wearing a mouthguard remains the best protection against dental trauma during sports. However, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, few participants follow this advice.
Mouthguards cushion oncoming blows, dampening the amount of trauma that reaches the teeth. They also protect the cheeks and gums from cuts and tears. The most effective mouthguards are form-fitted to an individual, usually crafted by a dentist. Stock mouthguards may not be as effective as they may not fit correctly.
Dental trauma can happen at any age. Do not wait to start utilizing a mouthguard, and talk to your dentist about other strategies to avoid needing emergency dental treatment.
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