Did you know that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries in the United States are caused by playing sports? This is according to an issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.
The likelihood of sport-related injuries, even to our teeth, increases when we participate in rigorous and sports and recreational activities.
Dental injuries often arise as a result of accidents in sports injuries. Almost all of these injuries are small, such as chipped teeth. It’s unusual to dislodge your tooth or have your tooth completely knocked out, but these injuries occasionally happen and are more serious.
Treatment depends on the severity, location, and type of injury. Irrespective of the extent of damage, your tooth needs immediate examination by the dentist. Sometimes your nearby teeth have an added, undetected injury that can only be identified by a thorough dental examination.
Sports-related dental injuries happen more frequently than you might think. Learn about four of the most common dental injuries here.
1. Cracked or Fractured Teeth
Cracked or fractured teeth happen most frequently while playing contact sports with a blow to the face. These dental injuries have several degrees of severity.
But, let’s define a cracked tooth. A cracked tooth is defined as a partial break from the crown of the tooth and extending beneath the gingival margin. The crack is usually in the backside of the tooth or the ‘in-between surface’ of the tooth near it.
Symptoms that you may encounter with a cracked tooth include:
- A shooting pain when you bite down, which then goes away
- Intermittent tooth pain that comes and goes but isn’t continuously present
- Pain while eating and drinking, mainly when you eat or drink hot or cold foods and drinks
- Gum swelling around the impacted tooth
There are generally two types of cracked teeth.
A vertical Cracked Tooth
Generally, a tooth with a vertical crack that goes through it but has not yet reached the gum line can be saved.
However, if the crack reaches down into the gum line, that tooth may need to be taken out. The best chance of saving this tooth is by providing immediate care. The crack can extend through either a proximal surface or a marginal ridge. The crack’s vertical depth is also diverse.
A Horizontal Cracked Tooth
That is a tooth with a fracture that extends below the gum line from its surface and is also known as a split tooth. It can break into two pieces. With this type of crack, it’s unlikely the dentist will save the entire tooth.
But, your dentist might be able to save a part of it. A split may often happen where only a single root is affected (e.g., an upper molar root). It may be possible to remove part of it and save the rest of the tooth in those cases.
If you have to have a tooth removed, your dentist will discuss and start a replacement procedure.
2. Fractured Roots
Sports tooth injuries are not always restricted to the crown of the tooth, either.
It can happen when you receive a blow at the wrong angle, where it will cause a fractured root of the tooth first. In this case, what happens is the crack is at the root and travels upwards towards the chewing surface.
Sometimes you cannot often see the cracks, and you may only discover the issue when you get an infection. The seriousness of this type of dental injury depends on the crack’s location along the root of the tooth.
The sooner a patient receives endodontic treatment (root canal therapy), the less likely they are to have an infection, leading to tooth loss.
3. Tooth Intrusion
Injuries in sports can result in teeth getting knocked out while playing. However, it’s also possible for a tooth to be impacted into the jawbone instead. That can result in intense pain.
Even though this is more likely to happen in children whose mouths are still developing and are less able to take the trauma of a hard hit, it does happen to adults. In both cases, however, urgent treatment is necessary to reduce intrusion damage and pain over time.
Never ignore sharp pains in your mouth, particularly if you have sustained a sports injury. Always visit your dentist for immediate treatment.
4. Fractured Cusp
What is a fractured cusp? It is when a part of the tooth chewing surface breaks off, usually around a filling. Usually, there is no pain with this type of fracture, and the root is rarely damaged.
Treatment of a fractured cusp will typically be a replacement of the filling or a crown fitted over the broken tooth to uphold it.
Check out http://www.boisedentist.com/services/lost-crown-or-crown-fell-off/ for more information on how to have a crown replaced.
Use of Gum Guards for Protection During Sports
Different sports involve different degrees of risk and possible injury, so it is vital to choose some protection, particularly around the face and mouth. That is where a Gum Guard comes in.
That said, it is essential to keep in mind that no mouthguard will effectively remove the chance of injury, but this risk is considerably lowered by not wearing one at all!
How do mouth guards help decrease the possibility of injury to the mouth and teeth? That reduces the chance of cracks in your teeth and roots and even similar injuries to your face, tongue, lips, and jaw.
The American Dental Association (ADA) promotes mouth guards’ use since studies show that athletes who do not wear them are 60 times more likely to suffer a dental injury.
Look After Your Teeth
Keeping fit and active is a critical factor in maintaining overall health. However, if you participate in sports regularly, your teeth may end up suffering.
Apart from beautiful smiles, your teeth are one of the most valuable assets of your body. We use them for talking, chewing, and sometimes to show our emotions, as well! So, when you’re actively involved in more vigorous exercise, always remember to take the right measures to protect your teeth from injury.
If you sustain dental injuries during sports playing, remember that prompt treatment provides the best chance to save your tooth and prevent infection as well as further damage.
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