Sports-Related Oral Injuries: Treatment & Prevention

Oral and facial surgery at the Surgical Arts Centre in Missoula, Montana According to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), up to 40 percent of all oral and dental injuries in the United States happen during sports or recreational activities. Even so, many sports organizations – including high school sports leagues – do not require protective mouth gear in order to play. Even contact sports like football have surprisingly low compliance rates for mouthguard use. Dental trauma and mouth trauma could include:
  • Tooth fractures.
  • Tooth concussions.
  • Tooth knocked loose.
  • Tooth knocked out.
  • Tooth jammed into socket.
  • Jaw fracture.
  • Laceration of the mouth.
  • Injury to the Temporomandibular Joint ( TMJ)

What To Do After Suffering A Sports-Related Dental Injury

  • Stay calm and keep the injured player calm. A tooth or jaw injury can be more traumatic than many other sports injuries. Make sure that responders are calm as well as the injured person. Get them off the field (or out of the water, etc.) and make sure they are comfortable.
  • Collect any teeth that have been knocked out. Place the tooth or teeth in milk or water if no milk is available. There is a chance that the tooth can be replaced. Time is however of the essence and if a tooth is out of the socket more than 30 minutes, the likelihood of success drops dramatically.
  • Get an immediate medical evaluation if necessary. If there are medical responders at the game, get evaluated by them and follow their directions for further treatment. If there are not medical responders, decide whether you need immediate emergency care, either at an ER or with an emergency dentist. Serious tooth or jaw injuries should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Follow doctors' orders. To control pain, avoid complications, and speed recovery, it is vital that you follow all of your doctors' orders, from eating a soft diet, to cleaning your teeth, to limiting your activity. The more closely you follow your doctor's care plan, the more likely you will see a fast and full recovery. Be sure to report all complications or continuing pain to your doctor or dentist.

Avoiding Tooth & Mouth Sports Injuries

The single best thing that you can do to prevent tooth and mouth trauma during sports and recreational activities is to wear a mouthguard. While a "boil-and-bite" mouthguard can protect your teeth during contact sports and other activities, a custom-fit mouthgard made with the help of your dentist can offer much better protection. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing a mouthguard for the following sports:
  • Acrobatics/gymnastics
  • Basketball
  • Boxing/martial arts
  • Cycling
  • Horse riding/equestrian events
  • Ice skating/ice hockey/inline skating
  • Skiing
  • Field hockey
  • Field events
  • Football
  • Handball
  • Lacrosse
  • Raquetball
  • Rugby
  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Surfing
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Tooth Trauma Support At The Surgical Arts Centre

At the Surgical Arts Centre, we have extensive experience with a wide range of tooth and mouth injuries caused by sports and recreational activity. Whether your mouth injury was very recent, or whether you are still dealing with the consequences of an old sports injury, we may be able to help you. To ask us a question or to learn more about our medical services, call us today: (406) 549-6600.
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