Participating in sporting activities can bring lots of fun and a smile. However, these sports pose a threat of dental injuries that can affect the smile you cherish the most. In fact, about 80% of sports participants have reports of dental injury. This is why you must be cautious when participating in these sports to keep your dental health in check.
Dr. Martin, your top University Charlotte area dentist, is an expert in sports dentistry. Here, he provides tips to keep your dental health in check during your athletic activities.
What Is Sports Dentistry?
Injuries are not evitable when it comes to sports, and this calls for the need for a specialized field in dentistry. Sports dentistry covers preventing, managing, and treating athletic-related dental injuries. Sports dentistry is essential, especially when it comes to contact sports.
Everyone who participates in sports should prioritize oral health, which is why they must be cautious during their activities. As an athlete, you should have a dentist who can help you treat and manage sports-related dental injuries.
Why Is Sports Dentistry Important?
Every sport has a certain risk it poses to our dental health. Sadly, these orofacial injuries are almost inevitable during sports activities. Fortunately, sports dentistry helps place hope at the end of the tunnel.
Sports dentistry prevents and manages dental injuries you can sustain during sports activities. These injuries include root fractures, tooth intrusions, bruised lips, broken teeth, and lots more. Having a sports dentist helps prevent the risk of these injuries.
All it requires you to do is take certain precautions, get the necessary gadgets, and have your sports dentist available. With all these in place, you can go about your sports activities without fearing any orofacial injury.
Common Mouth Injuries in Sports
There are several injuries you can sustain during your athletic activities. These injuries can cause a serious dent in the perfect smile you’ve always had. You must be careful during your athletic activities and be sure not to sustain these injuries.
Broken or Chipped or Cracked Teeth
This is one of the common mouth injuries sustained during sports activities. It usually occurs when you take a blow to the face or mouth. The nature of the crack on the tooth determines how difficult the situation is.
If the cracks appear across the tooth or your tooth shows longitudinal cracks, you might just have something called ‘craze lines.’ These cracks might not pose high risks to your dental health. Nonetheless, you must visit a professional for an examination and treatment.
However, if the split or crack begins from the tooth’s chewing surface and extends towards the root, you have a confirmed ‘cracked tooth.’ This condition is more severe than the former and will require immediate medical attention. When you have a cracked tooth, you will experience symptoms like:
- Occasional tooth pain
- Sharp pain when you bite
- Partial loss of enamel, which can lead to exposure to the tooth’s inner layers
- Pain when drinking or eating, especially cold or hot foods
A fractured root is also another common injury sustained during sports activities. It can occur when you receive a blow to the face at a certain angle. Unlike cracked teeth, this condition begins from the root and works its way to the tooth’s visible surface.
Fractured roots are often invisible, so you might only discover them when infections start to develop. You should visit a professional and go for root canal therapy before the issue escalates.
Most sports injuries are associated with knocking out your tooth, but some injuries take a different approach. Some injuries drive the tooth back into the jaw bone, depending on the angle and intensity of impact. This condition is called truth intrusion.
Some complications that arise from tooth intrusion include:
- Damage to the pulp
- Ankylosis fusion of tooth roots to the bone
- Root resorption, shortening of tooth roots
Additional Dental Injuries
There are also other dental injuries you can sustain during your athletic activities. They include:
- Bruised lips, tongue, and cheeks
- Cut lips, tongue, and cheeks
- Soft tissue injuries
- Tooth dislocations
- Jaw dislocations
Prevention of Mouth Injuries in Sports
There are several ways to prevent mouth injuries or protect your teeth from damage. One of the most effective ways to prevent these injuries is by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports. There are different types of mouthguards you can choose for your protection.
Stock mouthguards are readily available, inexpensive, and one size fits all. They come pre-formed and are very easy and ready to wear. They offer little protection and make sleeping comfortable. They, however, have few shortcomings. They are not easily adjustable and make breathing difficult.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards
This mouthguard requires you to soften it in hot water before using it. After softening it in hot water, you mold it around the mouth with your fingers to get your dental impression. They are better than stock mouthguards but still don’t give the perfect fit.
These mouthguards are precisely made to fit a patient. They are usually more expensive and provide more protection, comfort, and the best fit. Custom-fitted mouthguards are the best choice for athletes as they give perfect protection to the teeth, lips, and cheeks.
Dental Injury Treatment in the University Charlotte Area
If you have a dental injury, whether minor or severe, you should not hesitate to seek medical attention from your dentist. You should pay attention and give the best care to your dental health.
Winning Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers effective sports dentistry in the University Charlotte area. You can book an appointment with our dental team if you have a dental injury. Contact us now!