|Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
January 13, 2017
It’s the time of year when the snow should be melting and the fields are clearing. Which means it is also the time when adults and kids will be playing or getting ready to play their favorite sports. Whether you play with a bat, a ball or a puck, sports can be extremely enjoyable, but they can also be dangerous. This time of year is when dentists actually see more patients with dental injuries.
Stephen Mitchell, D.M.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of Pediatric Dentistry says “Basketball and baseball are the two biggest mouth-injuring sports. And the most common injuries we see are broken, displaced or knocked out teeth and broken jaws”.
A report by the U.S. Surgeon General states that craniofacial injuries that are sustained during sporting activities are a major source for nonfatal injuries and disability in children and adults. Facial injuries account for one-third of all sport injuries. There is estimation that kids will lose more than three million teeth in sporting activities this year. It is not only boys that need to worry about losing their teeth. Girls are participating in competitive sports more often than they use.
Mouth guards and helmets are the best face protectors for kids and adults to help prevent dental injuries while participating in sports. Custom mouth guards are best for kids that a full set of permanent teeth. The guards are small enough in the mouth that the child can still talk to their teammates. For kids who still have their baby teeth, mouth guards from a local sports store would be better. These can be boiled and molded to fit the child’s changing mouth.
Even when precautions are taken, children can still hurt their teeth or jaw. If a tooth is broken than see a dentist within 24 hours. For teeth that have been displaced or knocked, go to the emergency room immediately to try and preserve the teeth. Mitchell says, “A tooth that has been knocked out needs to be back in the mouth within 30 minutes for the best chance of long-term survival”. These are a few tips to help preserving the tooth.
- Avoid touching the root because it can be damaged easily.
- If the tooth is dirty, you should hold it by the upper part and rinse it off with milk until most of the dirt is washed away. If you don’t have milk, don’t clean it. You may cause more damage by wiping it off.
- If your child is old enough not to swallow it, try to gently put the tooth back in its socket for the best chance of preservation.
- If you can’t get it back in the socket, put it in a cup of milk and head to the dentist or emergency room.
“We tell people to put the tooth in milk because the cells around the root are still alive after it is knocked out and milk can provide nutrients to the cells to help keep them alive”. Mitchell adds, “Do not put the tooth in water. It can cause the cells to burst and makes saving the tooth much less likely”.
Injuries to the jaw can be less obvious then a broken tooth, but they can be very painful. If your child takes a hard hit to the mouth it can easily break the jaw. If this happens, the child should be taken the see a doctor within 24 hours. Taking care of the mouth afterward is the key to healing. Even though your mouth may be sore, it is still important to keep brushing the teeth. Just like keeping any other wound clean, the cleaner the mouth is, the better it heals.
For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr.Wishneff at [email protected] or call (561) 488-3111. Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.