How to Avoid Emergency Dental Trips Due to Sports Injuries

How to Avoid Emergency Dental Trips Due to Sports Injuries

July 16, 2023

Sports are exhilarating, but they also come with their fair share of risks. This is especially true when it comes to dental health. Every year, numerous athletes face dental emergencies. Emergency dental incidents not only interrupt games but can lead to long-term dental complications. But, with a bit of foresight and preparation, these incidents can be largely avoided.

The Most Common Emergency Dental Injuries in Sports

From minor chips to more severe fractures, sports dental emergencies can vary. What’s more is that they’re not uncommon. In fact, throughout a regular season, approximately 10 percent of players experience a dental injury. Here is a list of the most common sports dental injuries:

  1. Chipped or broken teeth: A common result of a hard tackle or fall. Chipped or broken teeth can be painful and they can interfere with your quality of life.
  2. Avulsed tooth (knocked-out-tooth). Often seen in contact sports when proper mouth protection isn’t used. Luckily, if you react fast enough, a dentist can replant your knocked out tooth.
  3. Fractured roots. These aren’t always visible like chipped teeth but they can be extremely painful. Fractured roots can occur from a blow to your teeth at a certain angle.
  4. Soft tissue injuries: Injuries to the lips, gums, or cheeks can happen from collisions or falls. While some may heal on their own, others can interfere with your dental health.
  5. Tooth intrusion: Though less common, this is when a tooth is pushed into the jawbone. These require significant force to occur and that’s why they’re less common.

Importance of Dental Protection in Sports

For whatever reason, some people choose to skimp on dental protection in sports. But, there are several reasons you should pay attention to dental protection.

First, a dental emergency can lead to immediate pain and discomfort. What’s more is that they can also lead to long-term dental health issues. Furthermore, emergency dental treatments can be costly. Especially if they involve complex procedures or replacements. Then, there’s the added inconvenience of missing work, school, or sports events. Lastly, a dental injury can even impact one’s appearance.

As you can see, dental emergencies are quite serious. Clinics such as ours are well-equipped and experienced in handling these emergencies. Yet, the fact remains that the best practice is still protection.

Sports with the Highest Risk For Emergency Dental Injuries

Certain sports are known to have a higher chance of causing dental injuries. Contact sports, which include games like hockey, boxing, and rugby, come with a direct risk because of the physical contact involved. Then, there are non-contact sports like basketball. Even though players aren’t intentionally tackling each other, accidental falls or sudden clashes can still lead to injuries. Lastly, even recreational activities aren’t free from risks. Activities like cycling or rollerblading may seem harmless, but a simple crash or fall can lead to unexpected dental damage.

Girl with braces playing tennis. She needs orthodontic protection to protect her braces and teeth from an emergency dental sports injury,

Protective Measures to Prevent Emergency Dental Injuries

Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. When it comes to avoiding an emergency dentist visit, there are several protective measures one can take.:

Mouthguards in Sports

Mouthguards are like special shields for our teeth. When playing activities where something might hit our mouth, these mouthguards are essential. They are the best defence to chipped or broken teeth, which are the most common injuries.

Imagine playing without one and getting a sudden hit to your mouth; it could hurt a lot and even break a tooth. But with a mouthguard, you’ve got a cushion, softening the blow and keeping your teeth safe. So, wearing a mouthguard is a great way to make sure your smile stays complete and healthy while playing.

Helmets with Face Guards

Helmets with face guards take it a step further than mouth guards. When playing sports where things can hit your face or where you might fall, these helmets keep more than your mouth safe.

Just like a helmet protects our brain from getting hurt, the face guard stops direct hits to our face. This means fewer chances of broken teeth or hurt lips. So, wearing helmets with face guards is a smart choice to keep our smiles safe and sound. While a mouthguard cushions blows to the mouth, helmets intercept them almost completely.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Going for regular dental check-ups is like getting your car checked before a long trip. The dentist looks at your teeth to make sure everything is okay. If they find small problems, like a weak tooth or tiny cavities, they can fix them before they become big issues. By catching these little problems early, you avoid bigger injuries in the future. So, having these check-ups helps keep your teeth strong and ready for anything!

Orthodontic Protection for those with Braces

People with braces have extra metal and wires in their mouths. If they get hit in the face or have a fall, those parts can poke or scratch the inside of their mouth.

Orthodontic protection, like special mouthguards, is like a cushion for these braces. It covers the braces, so if there’s an accident, the mouth is safe from the sharp parts. This way, not only do the braces stay in place, but the mouth and teeth also stay safe from cuts and injuries. So, if someone has braces, using this protection is a smart way to keep their mouth happy and injury-free!

Invisalign aligners are another excellent option for active individuals. These clear braces are removable making them the less intrusive for athletes. Of course, they are not the perfect fit for everyone.

Safe Practice and Training

Practicing safe habits is like learning how to ride a bike with training wheels first. Before we go fast or try tricky moves, we learn the basics to stay safe. By knowing the right way to play a sport or do an activity, you can avoid mistakes that might hurt your teeth or mouth.

Just like you wouldn’t ride a bike without first learning to balance, you shouldn’t play without learning the safe way. Proper practice and training will teach you the best ways to have fun without getting hurt.

What to Do If a Dental Injury Occurs

No matter how careful you are, sometimes accidents just happen. If you’re faced with a dental injury during sports, it’s crucial to know the right steps to take.

If you’ve had a tooth knocked out, also known as an avulsed tooth, it’s important to keep it moist. Placing it in milk can be a helpful method. Once you’ve done that, see an emergency dentist right away.

In cases where the tooth is fractured or chipped, you should gently rinse your mouth with warm water. Applying a cold compress can also help reduce any swelling.

For injuries to the soft parts of your mouth, like your lips or cheeks, rinsing with a saltwater solution can be beneficial.

But remember, in all these situations, it’s vital to get emergency dental care as soon as possible. Our team at Waterdown Smiles Dentistry is equipped to provide quick and effective treatment in such emergencies. Give us a call and we’ll get you the emergency dental services you need!

Emergency Dental Services at Waterdown Smiles Dentistry

While sports bring joy and excitement to our lives, they’re not without risks, especially when it comes to dental health. A dental emergency can be a painful and costly affair. But, with the right protective measures, they’re largely avoidable. Prioritize your dental protection, and let the only thing you lose in the field be sweat, not teeth!

Don’t let an unexpected sports dental emergency catch you off guard. Schedule an appointment with Waterdown Smiles Dentistry today to learn more. We can also help you get a custom-fitted mouthguard. Protect your teeth, keep them shining bright, and let your passion for sports continue undeterred.