bigstock-Boy-putting-in-his-mouth-guard-43146865-1080x675Footy season is upon us again and while we are all getting back into training and organising our kit, let’s think about protecting our mouths!

The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reports dental injuries as the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during sports participation. They contend that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard. Often times these injuries will result in permanent damage to oral structures which require medical intervention.

Types of Dental Injuries
Injuries to the teeth can be grouped in three different categories with care specific to each type.

Fracture

can be classified as a root fracture, broken tooth or chipped tooth

if possible, stabilize portion of tooth still in mouth by gently biting on towel to control bleeding

athlete and tooth fragments should be transported immediately to a dentist

best methods of transport of the tooth are in Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution, milk, saline soaked gauze, or under the athlete’s tongue

Avulsion

entire tooth, including root, knocked out

do not handle tooth by the root (tooth should be handled by the crown)

do not brush, scrub, or sterilize tooth

if tooth is dirty, gently rinse with water

if possible, place tooth back in socket and have athlete gently bite down on towel

if unable to reimplant tooth, transport tooth with the athlete as described above to the dentist immediately

Luxation

tooth in socket, but in wrong position

Extruded Tooth – tooth appears longer than surrounding teeth

Lateral Displacement – tooth pushed back or pulled forward
For extruded or laterally displaced teeth, provide the following care:
• The tooth will need to be repositioned in socket using firm finger pressure. This is probably best done by trained dental/medical personnel.
• Have the athlete gently bite down on a towel and transport immediately to a dentist
◦ Intruded tooth – tooth looks short, pushed into gum.
◦ Donot attempt to reposition tooth
◦ transport athlete immediately to a dentist

It is important to remember time is critical when handling dental injuries. Do not allow the athlete to wait until the end of the game to seek treatment for a dental injury. Transport them to a dentist within 2 hours for the best outcomes.

To help prevent against such injuries, a well-fitting, dentist-made mouthguard is a great investment.

When we run out onto the field, let’s remember to protect our teeth.

Have fun everyone!