Overall, being an athlete is a pretty great gig. It strengthens physical health, improves body image, and raises self-confidence. What’s not to love? Still, that doesn’t mean athleticism doesn’t have downsides. In particular, it puts you at high risk of having a dental emergency — due to falls, player collisions, etc. Luckily, your State College Dentist is here to prevent such a thing. Here are the three most common dental emergencies for athletes and how best to avoid them.
Common Dental Emergencies Among Athletes
Athletic activities — especially contact sports like football and hockey — can often lead to dental injuries. In fact, 10% of sports players end up with such injuries in any given season. The most common ones that athletes experience are:
You can easily take a blow to the face while playing a sport, resulting in a cracked tooth. The latter’s symptoms include intermittent soreness, sharp pain when biting, aches when eating or drinking, etc.
What’s dangerous about a crack is that it can expose your tooth’s underlying dentin and pulp. Should that occur, you’ll need immediate treatment to avoid possible bacterial infection.
If you take a blow at a wrong angle, one of your teeth could get a fractured root. This is when a crack starts at the root level and works up toward your tooth’s surface.
Fractured roots are often invisible, so you might only discover one when an infection develops. It’s thus essential to treat it as soon as possible.
A tooth intrusion happens when an injury drives your pearly white into the jawbone. While it’s more common in “baby teeth,” it’s known to happen to athletes of all ages. If you experience it, the tooth trauma healing time can put you out of action for a while.
The following complications can arise from a tooth intrusion:
- Destruction of tooth pulp
- Root reabsorption, which is a shortening of the tooth roots
- Ankylosis, the fusion of the injured tooth’s root to the alveolar bone
How to Prevent a Sports-Related Dental Emergency
Thankfully, having the right gear can prevent your athletics from hurting your teeth.
If you’re involved in team sports, remember to wear a mouthguard, helmet, or both. The former item guards against cut lips, broken teeth, and other types of mouth damage. A helmet, meanwhile, gives you an extra layer of protection in sports like football or hockey.
Mouthguards and helmets are also a good idea for solo sports. Even if your activity doesn’t include other people, you could still hit the ground, a tree, or a parked car. That said, these items would protect you if you’re cycling, skating, skiing, and more.
As you can see, athletics presents a real danger to your oral health. With the tips above, though, you can ensure your physical activities only do your body good!
About the Author
Dr. Chris Devlin is a dentist based in State College, PA, having earned his DMD from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dental Medicine. You might know him as a former NFL player for the Cincinnati Bengals. Today, though, he specializes in preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry for patients of all ages. Dr. Devlin currently practices at his self-titled clinic and is reachable on his website or by phone at (814)-238-3553.