An active lifestyle is important to everyone of all age groups, but especially for children. People participate in sports or physical activities for various reasons such as competition, relaxation, health, fitness, etc. In almost every sport, there is always a risk of injury and in the case of kids sports/ activities this can become amplified as illustrated by the term “youthful exuberance”. Kids unlike adults don’t yet know how to properly exercise caution while participating and the result is a higher incidence of accidents and injuries. When it comes to children participating in sporting activities, dental and facial traumas are the most common sports related injuries.
Here are the most common athletic dental injuries:
Avulsion or knocked out teeth
This is one of the most serious dental emergencies, where the tooth has been knocked out and the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are also damaged. Because nerves and blood vessels cannot be repaired, a root canal is usually needed for avulsed teeth. When a tooth is knocked out, time is of the essence, as there is a 90 percent chance of saving the tooth by returning it to the socket. This however requires you to seek treatment within one hour of the injury.
A cracked tooth occurs when the athlete experiences a sudden blow to the face. It is estimated that players who do not wear mouthguards are sixty times more likely to have serious damage that could result in other long term problems. Sometimes a cracked tooth is not clearly visible unless a section of the enamel is lost. The treatment is determined by the level of severity so it is crucial that a visit to the dentist is scheduled as soon as possible.
Charles J. Burstone defined intrusion to be "the apical movement of the geometric center of the root (centroid) in respect to the occlusal plane or plane based on the long axis of tooth". Simply put, the tooth is driven into its socket, usually due to some form of impact. This is a very serious injury which requires emergency dental care. Treatment should be done quickly because the pulp has become necrotic (dead) and usually requires surgery, repositioning or orthodontic treatment.
The athlete experiences trauma which causes partial displacement of the tooth out of its socket. Treatment usually involves repositioning the tooth gently. The use of a non-rigid splint is used for two weeks and the dentist will periodically monitor the vitality of the pulp and perform root canal therapy if necessary.
First and foremost if your kids are playing any contact sports, wearing a mouthguard should be mandated by you as it will help protect their teeth from injury and trauma. Secondly, seek treatment as quickly as possible. Left untreated, a dental emergency can lead to more serious complications. EJL Dental offers SISU, which is a brand of customizable athletic mouthguards. They are very popular because they are made of a perforated material that allows for better fit and the ability to talk, drink, and breathe more comfortably. Due to high patient demand, we carry a stock in multiple sizes and colors in our office. For $65 patients can purchase the mouthguard. Included in that price we will do an initial fit of the athletic mouthguard and any additional fits needed as the child grows/changes teeth to allow for the best fit and protection. Usually each mouthguard can be “refit” up to three times.
Sports-related dental injuries can be successfully prevented, or the severity of the damage reduced by wearing appropriate sports gear and mouthguards. Be sure to contact us today to find out more about the SISU mouthguard and how your child can play protected.