Tooth trauma is preventable, you just need to learn what kinds of precautions to take. The holidays may have passed, but you don’t want your children to have to wish for their two front teeth for next year’s Christmas.
How can you and your family guard against facial injuries that lead to fractured, broken and missing teeth?
Take Sports Safety Seriously
If you or your child plans on participating in a sport ― and that includes the adult recreational league you’re a member of ― you should invest in high-quality protective mouthguards. From flag football to hockey, all sports increase the risk of mouth injuries.
In fact, the Journal of the American Dental Association reports that up to 39 percent of all dental injuries result from sports participation.
The ratio is high, but you can lower the chances of a knocked-out tooth, or even a bloody lip, by getting mouthguards for all of your family members that fit and are highly rated for protection.
The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 mouth injuries per year. You can find these products at your local sports store or online, or you can visit your dentist to have a custom-made mouthguard formed just for you.
Also, if helmets are recommended in your sport, always follow this rule, even during practice sessions. Add a face cage to the helmet to make the gear even safer.
Know How to Respond
Sadly, you might not always be able to guard against tooth trauma, and injuries can happen even when you are wearing the correct protective gear. To prepare, make sure you and your loved ones know exactly what to do. In nearly every case, speed of treatment is the main factor in determining whether a natural tooth can be saved.
First, if a tooth is loosened or knocked out, pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root, and rinse it in cold water if it is dirty. Try to place it back in the socket and bite down on a piece of clean gauze to hold it in place. If it can’t be placed back in the socket correctly, place it in a cup of milk or your saliva.
If the tooth fractures and bits fall out of your mouth, put these in a cup of milk or saliva as well. Your oral surgeon can use these pieces to rebuild your natural tooth if you get treatment in time.
Know an On-Call Family Dentist and Oral Surgeon
If you can get to your dentist or surgeon within an hour, he or she is more likely to be able to salvage your tooth and reinstate it. If bacteria entered the tooth socket, you may need a root canal to prevent against infection, either right away or in the near future.
The key to this step is knowing who to call ahead of time. You will waste precious minutes if you don’t have a reliable oral surgeon or dentist in your contact list beforehand.
Talk to Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to find out more about the complications of tooth trauma and how our trained, experienced team can help.