Safety Tips to Prevent Dental Emergencies During Spring Sports

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As spring and fall seasons begin, so do contact sports like baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, and football. In adults and children, sports-related injuries are common. Dentists estimate about 30 percent of dental injuries occur while playing sports. Nearly 80 percent of cases result in at least one or both front teeth being damaged or lost, along with injury to the tongue or cheek area. However, athletes who wear a mouth guard reduce their chances of tooth dislocations, tooth fractures, and soft tissue cuts. It also protects against concussions and jaw fractures by absorbing the energy from a hit in the mouth area.

The team at Byers Station Dental is a family dental practice that offers full-service treatment to residents in the Chester Springs, PA area. April is National Facial Protection Month with the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. We want to share some helpful safety information on spring sports safety and how to protect your child's smile.

Sports safety and protecting your smile

Organized sports with the most oral injuries include hockey, football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, and softball. Skating, skateboarding, and biking are also recreational sports with the highest chances of mouth trauma or injury. Unfortunately, according to the American Dental Association, 84 percent of children do not wear a mouth guard when playing a contact sport. It is often not a mandatory piece of protective equipment, like helmets, shoulder pads, chin guards, etc. While it is essential to take the necessary precautions to protect your body, wearing a mouth guard will help avoid dental trauma and reduce your risk of tooth loss when playing a contact sport. Other spring sports safety tips include:

  • Wear all mandatory protective gear
  • Wear a helmet
  • Wear a protective face shield to prevent facial damage, especially when playing football, lacrosse, or hockey
  • Wear a mouth guard, even if it is not required

Sports safety: different types of mouth guard protection

Unfortunately, a mouth guard is not always issued as protective gear when playing a contact sport. However, the most common causes of mouth trauma occur when athletes are not wearing a mouth guard. Our team at Byers Station Dental wants to help educate Chester Springs, PA athletes about wearing a mouth guard and protecting their teeth. There are three basic types:

  • Stock mouth guards are ready to wear but generally don't fit well. They can be found at any sporting goods store.
  • Boil and bite mouth guards can be found at any sporting goods store and come in a preformed shape to be customized by softening in boiling water.
  • Custom-made mouth guards require a visit to Byers Station Dental. They offer the best fit and protection.

In case of a dental emergency

If a permanent tooth is knocked out of the socket, the best thing to do is put it back in. However, if your child gets a baby tooth knocked out, don't try to reinsert it and immediately contact your dentist. Even if a tooth is knocked out by contact, it often can be saved by visiting the dentist quickly for emergency dental care and doing the following:

  • Find the tooth immediately
  • If dirty, rinse it off with water
  • Hold the tooth by the top surface, not the roots
  • Place it back into the socket (only if a permanent tooth)
  • Gently bite down on a soft item or towel to hold it into place
  • If a knocked-tooth cannot be reinserted into the socket, place it in a glass of milk while seeking emergency dental care

Dental emergencies do happen – but wearing a mouth guard when playing contact sports or participating in certain outdoor recreational activities dramatically reduces your risk of dental trauma. Even if a minor injury to the mouth area occurs during a sporting event, it is best to contact your dentist and schedule an appointment to have it checked out. At Byers Station Dental, one of our dental experts is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even if our office is closed, listen carefully to our instructions on what to do next if you require emergency dental care. If you are looking for family dental care in Chester Springs, PA, contact our office or schedule an appointment online.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.