You might think a broken arm is more common than an injury involving teeth, basketball net and an ill-fated dunk. And you’re probably right. But the latter is more common than you’d think. In fact, after a dental newsletter published an article on a particular instance of this injury, over forty fellow dentists wrote in to share similar stories. Dentists estimate that nearly 40% of all dental injuries are the result of a sports-related incident. Nearly 80% of all dental injuries affect the the front teeth. While we can’t account for all possible risks that result in dental injury, you can do quite a bit to better protect yourself in situations we know to be more conducive to injury.
- Wear any required sports gear. While this might sound obvious many people opt out of wearing all required equipment all the time. For instance, when practicing informally or playing with friends, many athletes will forego wearing a helmet even though it’s no less needed during these times. Make sure that all equipment fits correctly and feel comfortable.
- Be fitted for a mouth guard. This is the easiest and surest way to prevent dental injury. If your sport’s required safety gear does not include something to cover and protect your mouth (e.g. baseball) then take initiative in protecting yourself against injury and have yourself fitted for a mouth guard. Your dentist should be able to recommend which mouth guard is best for you. Some mouth guards can be personally fitted for your mouth at your dentist’s office. Other ones are melted to your bite in a pot of boiling water at home. One is not necessarily better than the other, and a lot depends on how often you plan on wearing it and which you find most comfortable.
- Some people believe braces serve as their own form of protection by keeping teeth in place after an injury. However they can additionally cause extra harm themselves. Vulnerable cheeks and lips can very easily snag on the sharp, metal of braces with very little force applied. Almost no matter what sport you’re playing, even if it’s not considered especially high risk, its encourage that you wear some sort of guard to protect your own mouth against your braces.
Remember that even if a tooth has fallen out completely there is a chance that it can still be saved. Place the tooth on ice, and bring it with you to your dentist. It’s necessary that you visit your dentist immediately after this incident. You should also call ahead and let your dentist’s staff know what happened. Speak with your coach about other possible ways to prevent injury, or any other added risks that may be involved with your sport.
While we encourage you to get out there on the field, we also encourage you to do so safely! Remember that your mouth is vulnerable and subject to injury when not protected. If you experience a mouth injury call Dr. D’Alfonso of Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry and get the sort of treatment you need to get you smiling again.