See Your Dentist for These Mouth Mishaps
When you’re in an accident or play sports, even non-contact sports, injuries can happen to your teeth. For all tooth injuries, see your dentist or endodontist as soon as possible to address the injury and make sure no other problems occur.
Of all the sports-related tooth injuries, a chipped tooth is the most common. Most often, your dentist can easily reattach the chip or put on a tooth-colored filling or crown.
A tooth can become dislodged—or forced sideways, further into, or out of its socket. For permanent teeth, dentists will usually perform a root canal. Try to see your dentist right away if you have a dislodged tooth.
Although relatively rare, if a permanent tooth becomes avulsed (forcibly detached), go to your dentist or endodontist immediately, preferably within 30 minutes. The tooth may still be saved, but time matters. Store the tooth carefully, and don’t touch the root surface for the best chances of success. A splint will likely be used to stabilize the tooth as it heals, although you may need a root canal as well to ensure full healing.
Sometimes a tooth fractures horizontally. If the fracture occurs close to the gum line, it can be especially debilitating. The closer the fracture is to the root tip, the better the chances are to preserve the long-term health of the tooth. Depending on the fracture location and severity, your dentist may need to use a splint.
Some painful tooth injuries, like cracked teeth, result from habits such as chewing hard things or clenching and grinding your teeth. To prevent pulp damage, a root canal is the most likely treatment option. Wearing a mouth guard at night can help prevent teeth grinding.
Although you can’t prevent all injuries, wearing a mouth guard helps significantly, especially while playing contact sports o getting involved in situations where previous tooth injury has occurred. After an injury, follow your dentist’s advice and take time for your teeth and mouth to heal properly.
By Lacey Kupfer Wulf