Posted on: 29 July 2015Share
For certain types of sport, dental injuries are unfortunately rather common. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, 13 to 39% of all dental injuries occur during sport. If you or another player suffers a dental injury during a match, it's vital that you take the right action. Learn how to take care of a damaged tooth in this situation, and avoid the five following dental injury errors.
Carrying on without treatment
If you're trying to win an important match, it's often difficult to admit defeat and seek medical attention for a potential injury. As such, players with relatively serious dental injuries will sometimes carry on playing, without seeking the treatment they need.
In fact, this type of bravery could cause permanent damage to your teeth. With prompt dental care, a dentist can still restore a tooth that has completely fallen out of your mouth, but the procedure gets harder if you leave it too long. If you collide with a player, the ball or your equipment, and you have any pain, tenderness or sensitivity, seek dental treatment immediately.
Holding the tooth incorrectly
If somebody loses a tooth, it's extremely important that anyone handling the avulsed tooth does so properly. When a tooth completely dislodges, you probably only have about an hour to get to the dentist, after which it's less likely that anybody can fix the problem. What's more, the way you pick up the tooth is also vital.
Special periodontal fibers hold your teeth in place at the root. If you handle a displaced tooth by the root, you can cause further damage to these fibers, which can make it almost impossible for a dentist to set the tooth back in place. As such, you should always handle a displaced tooth by the crown, minimizing the time you spend touching the tooth in any way.
Wasting a chance to replant the tooth
The periodontal fibers around your tooth root are so vulnerable that the best place for an avulsed tooth is back in the patient's mouth. That aside, many people think that the only person who can handle the tooth correctly is a dentist. If you decide to wrap the tooth up and carry it to the dentist, you may make it harder for the dentist to replant the tooth.
Rinse the tooth gently in water to remove any dirt, but don't apply force or scrub or you will take off the periodontal fibers. Reimplant the tooth in its original socket, without using too much force. In fact, you don't particularly need to worry about getting the tooth the right way round. Your dentist can deal with this later.
Reimplanting a chipped tooth
It's not a good idea to reimplant a chipped tooth. Placing the fragment in the mouth is unlikely to increase the likelihood that a dentist can save the tooth, and the patient will find it much harder to keep the fragment in place than he or she would with a whole tooth. In fact, a chipped tooth poses a high choking risk.
Rinse the fragment with saline solution or water and then store the piece of tooth in a pot of milk or the patient's saliva. This can keep the tooth in the best condition before you get to the dentist for emergency treatment.
Not preparing for the worst
If you play a contact sport, you need to know what to do and who to turn to in an emergency. As such, the coach or team captain should always carry an emergency first-aid kit, containing gauze, saline solution and a sterile handkerchief. Most crucially, make sure the kit includes an emergency dentist's contact number, so you can get in touch immediately.
Dental injuries are common during sport, so it's vital that you take the right action straight away. Make sure you don't cause further damage to your teeth by dealing with an injury correctly. Click here for more info on what you should do to be prepared for any dental emergency.