3 Common Dental Injuries When Playing Sports (and How to Avoid Them)

While it’s important to stay active no matter what age you are, you need to take the right precautions to protect your loved ones’ smiles along the way. This becomes even more important if you have young and active family members who may still have developing smiles. With 5 million teeth knocked out every year according to the Journal of the American Dental Association caused by athletic activities, it’s important to know how to protect yourself from a sports-related dental emergency. Today, a dentist is prepared to explain a few of the most common types and what you can do to protect yourself from a dental emergency.

 

Cracked Teeth

In some cases, cracks can develop across teeth, a condition known as “craze lines.” This is considered to be a superficial side effect that usually occurs as a result of aging. Doctors and nurses who treat many sporting injuries note this is not something to be concerned about.

However, if the tooth is split downward towards the root, that’s considered a cracked tooth. This type of injury requires professional attention right away, especially if you notice:

  • Intermittent tooth pain (or pain that comes and goes but never goes away completely)
  • Sharp pain while biting down
  • Discomfort when eating and drinking, particularly hot or cold foods
  • Loss of outer enamel

Keep in mind that cracked teeth are not always visible to the naked eye, which is why you may experience pain even if nothing appears to be wrong with your tooth. Whether the cracked extends beneath the gumline or not, you’ll want to see a dentist right away to see if restorative treatments are needed to protect your smile.

Tooth Intrusion

Alternatively, sports injuries can force teeth further into the jawbone. This is known as a tooth intrusion and is generally more common with baby teeth due to the alveolar bones (or the bones that hold the sockets) being largely soft until the child grows up. With that said, it can happen to people at any age and requires immediate attention if it occurs.

Fractured Roots

When sudden trauma occurs at a certain angle, the roots of teeth can be fractured rather than the crown (or visible portion.) In this instance, the crack begins at the root portion and extends up, rather than from the top to the bottom. Unfortunately, these types of cracks are impossible to see since they occur beneath gum tissue. For this reason, it’s best to visit a dentist following an oral injury just to be sure no problems are present, especially if you have lasting pain following the accident.

How to Protect Yourself

Much like how a helmet should be worn when riding a bike, a mouthguard should be worn when the chance of impact to the mouth is high. This can occur during a variety of sports, including football, basketball, hockey, and karate. With a custom-made mouthguard from a dentist, you can expect:

  • The most comfortable fit possible
  • A longer-lasting oral appliance
  • More comprehensive protection

Do you currently use a mouthguard when playing sports? If not, consider calling a dentist today to ensure your smile has the protection it needs!

About the Author

Dr. Kboudi holds over two decades of experience in his field, including in specific treatments designed to handle dental emergencies. At Beverly Hills Complete Dentistry, he makes urgent dental care a priority by doing everything possible to get you seen the same day that an emergency occurs. To get out of pain and give your damaged tooth the attention it needs, you can contact him through his website.

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