Donning a jersey has both downfalls and perks. One side of it involves the physical activity which can enhance overall well-being, maintain weight, bring down the risk of various diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease and also strengthen muscles and bones. The other side of it is the side where you can put your body at risk to injury which can include dental trauma.
Nearly every single sport can pose a threat to oral health. Hockey pucks, tackles during football or even the close contact during basketball can make a player prone to injury.
Yes, coaches and players do take into consideration proper techniques and safety but no extent of practice can preclude every accident.
As such, it’s important for family members, players and coaches to be aware of dental injuries that occur due to sports and consider oral care on a regular basis.
Below are listed few common injuries that occur due to sports.
a) Chipped or fractured tooth – One of the most common dental injuries are chipped, cracked or fractured teeth, which do not go noticed immediately. It may not cause as much pain as decay and hence, the period it is left unnoticed is much longer. Though there is no significant pain, the damage that it can cause can be quite severe. Sometimes only the outer layer of the tooth called the ‘crown’ is broken or chipped off but this, if left untreated can run deeper and reach the nervous and even damage the nerves. The tooth then becomes more prone to decay. Hence, even though the pain doesn’t occur instantly, keeping in mind the signs of a chipped, cracked or broken tooth is important to avoid further damage to the tooth.
Few signs of a chipped, cracked or broken tooth are:
- High sensitivity to sweet, sour, cold or hot foods or beverages
- Feeling discomfort in the mouth when you chew on foods
- Biting pressure pain
The chip can be felt on your tooth with the help of your tongue. You can do a quick examination yourself with your tongue.
If you experience any of the above signs then you should pay a visit to your dentist. The dentist will be able to rectify damage to the tooth and give you the proper care required.
b) Knocked out tooth – A tooth which is dislodged or avulsed gets totally knocked out of its roots and socket. Unlike a chipped tooth, when a tooth gets knocked out, you can tell! A direct impact which is severe enough can cause this kind of dental trauma. If this happens, go to the dentist immediately! And if you happen to find your tooth, pick it up by the crown and avoid touching the roots. If you are able to, place in a container filled with milk, saline water or saliva and take it with you to the dentist, of course!
There is a chance that the tooth can be placed back into the socket by the dentist. In case you don’t find the tooth, a denture tooth might be used. Of course, all this depends on what has happened, the dentist’s decision based on your teeth and your decision.
c) Shifted tooth – A tooth which is dislocated can shift down, up, backward, forward or sideways but does not dislodge completely. By moving the tooth to its original position, this can be fixed. When this occurs, it’s crucial that the player gets to the dentist instantly following the injury.
The best form of protection can be sought from mouth guards against prevalent dental injuries. Not only contact sports, but other sports like gymnastics, athletic activities, etc. can also incorporate and enforce that mouth guards be used. A well-fitted mouth guard is a must and a dentist can help you figure out the same.
FYI – Here is an article on the ‘Advantages Of Wearing Mouth Guards’.
What are you waiting for? Schedule your appointment with your dentist and then play freely!