Many people are unaware of the risks associated with a traumatic tooth injury. While there are different types of mouthguards for sport, a custom-made mouthguard can significantly reduce damage to your teeth.
If you are involved in sports such as rugby, hockey, soccer, boxing, skateboarding, gymnastics, wrestling, extreme sports and mountain biking you should wear a mouthguard. They are designed to cover the upper teeth and protect against injuries to the mouth and damage to the teeth.
Bite guards should be used by anyone who practices bodybuilding, yoga, pilates and other non-contact sports. Bite guards cover the tips and back of the teeth and do not cause the upper lip to push forward. They are also used to prevent grinding of the teeth during exercise in which we may grit our teeth to get through heavy lifts or tension movements.
Possible Dental Injuries
Chipped teeth are the most common dental injury. If teeth have been chipped or fractured, or if they are loose or tender to the touch, you should see your dentist within 12 hours.
When an athlete takes a blow to the face, a cracked or fractured tooth could result. Superficial cracks in the enamel aren’t high risk for dental health. However, if a tooth’s crack begins at the tooth’s crown and extends downward, it’s a cracked tooth. While you might have a crack and not experience any pain, you might experience symptoms such as:
· Sharp pain when you bite down
· Tooth pain that comes and goes
· Pain while eating and drinking, especially when you consume hot or cold foods
If an athlete receives a blow at a certain angle, a fractured root may result. A fractured root begins at the root level and works its way to the tooth’s visible surface. Because these fractures are often invisible, you might only discover the problem when an infection develops or potential tooth loss is evident at your next check -up. Another reason regular dentist visits are essential.
First aid for teeth
In many cases, the difference between saving and losing a tooth depends on taking the proper action immediately after injury. If a permanent tooth has been knocked out of its socket immediate attention is required. First, recover the tooth, and if dirty, gently clean with water. Try to avoid touching the root of the tooth. Next, if possible, place the tooth into its socket (in the proper orientation), and apply gentle pressure to the area for five minutes. You can use wet tissue or gauze to help hold the tooth in place. Get emergency dental treatment as soon as possible.
If it isn’t possible to replant the tooth, have the person hold it between his/her teeth and cheek, or place it into a plastic bag with the person’s saliva, or into a cup of cold milk. Control bleeding from the tooth socket by applying pressure to the area (use gauze if possible), and get to an emergency treatment centre as soon as possible. Primary (baby) teeth don’t usually need to be replanted.
If teeth are driven into, pushed partially out of the jaw, or if they are out of alignment, see a dentist within six hours of the accident. An examination of the mouth (plus x-rays if needed) should reveal the extent of the damage, and indicate what treatments are required.
In addition to the teeth, dental injuries often involve damage to the gums, the tongue, and the inside of the mouth. Take the following actions, and then see a dentist as soon as possible: Wash and rinse the area with soap and water if possible or remove debris by hand. Bleeding can usually be controlled by applying direct, gentle pressure to gauze pads placed on the wound. If bleeding can’t be controlled after about 10 minutes, go to an emergency room.
Prevention is worth it to protect your jaw and teeth. The cost of replacing a lost tooth is about 20 times more than the price of a custom-fitted mouthguard. A mouthguard/bite guard should fit securely, allow for easy breathing and speaking and be comfortable.
We strongly advise investing in a professional-grade mouthguard made by a dentist to keep your smile safe. If you (or your child) are active in sports, ask us about this important protection device.
Crown Dental Studio is one of the few truly 24-hour dental practices in Durban as this is not limited to emergency dentistry treatment.
T: +27 81 207 8621