Dental injuries as a result of playing sports are very common, and they can range from soft tissue damage to the complete loss of a permanent tooth. While an athletic mouth guard can minimize injury and even prevent some of the most severe problems, chipped and broken teeth, jaw fractures, and knocked out teeth are still quite common with adolescent athletics.
Is Sports Dentistry Right for Your Child?
Sports dentistry isn’t reserved for adults or professional athletes. We provide sports dentistry consultations to children and teens that play sports for their local schools. In the event that an unfortunate sports-related injury does affect the mouth, we can help to correct the teeth and other oral issues that may result.
Common Dental Injuries when Playing Sports
Certain dental injuries are more common than others when playing sports, and by identifying those that are most likely to occur, you can take steps to prevent them:
- Knocked out teeth. If your child is struck in the mouth by a ball or other piece of athletic equipment, he may lose a permanent tooth. It is important to get into the dentist as soon as possible to see if the tooth can be re-implanted into the socket.
- Displaced teeth. If your child suffers an injury in which his teeth have been moved, but are still in place, it is important to not try and move the tooth on your own. See your dentist as soon as possible, and apply ice to relieve discomfort.
- Cracked or chipped teeth. Serious chips that expose the pulp in the tooth require an immediate trip to the dentist. Depending on the severity of the break, a simple filling or bonding may be able to correct the problem.
Treating Sport-Related Dental Injuries
The field of sports dentistry involves the repair of injuries to the mouth and teeth that occurred during athletic competition. These injuries can be costly and disfiguring, and without treatment, your child could suffer from problems with chewing, bite, self-esteem, and confidence. Sport-related injuries can be costly, but many can prevented by using properly-designed protective equipment.
Sport-related injuries to the teeth and oral tissues aren’t necessarily treated differently than other traumatic injuries to the mouth. However, some student athletes or children may need to be treated with specific timelines in mind to take consideration for game schedules. For example, temporary restorations may be required until a permanent, long-term treatment option can be properly scheduled and planned.
Preventing Sport-Related Dental Injuries
Wearing certain protective equipment is the first line of defense in preventing sports-related dental injuries. Mouth guards are especially important, as they serve as one of the best ways to prevent injury to the teeth, lips, and tongue. We can provide custom-fit mouth guards that will give your teeth better protection than a standard store-bought option.
Depending on the sport that your child is participating in, face cages and helmets may also be advised. Face cages protect against facial trauma, especially when playing certain sporting positions, like a hockey goalie or baseball catcher. It is also advisable to wear a helmet whenever possible, and although most helmets won’t protect the mouth, they will protect your child’s head to prevent against concussions.