It’s football season, and with it the reminder that in any contact sport (or speed sport) there is susceptibility to dental injury if you’re not adequately protected. In fact, it is estimated that between 13-39% of all dental injuries occur while playing sports. As well, at least 80% of dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth. The damage that can occur from sports is something to note and be aware of so that you take the needed precautions to protect you and your family.
If you or your loved one is involved in speed or contact sports, there are a few ways to help prevent dental injury:
Wear a Mouth Guard
Did you know that approximately 200k mouth injuries per year are prevented simply by the use of mouth guards? Wearing a mouth guard is one of the best ways (if not the best way) to prevent injury to your mouth, teeth, and gums. There are several types of mouth guards. Here is an overview of your options:
-Custom Fit Mouth Guard: Our dental office can custom-fit a mouth guard specifically for the unique shape of your mouth and teeth to help protect you. Due to the custom fit, this is the most optimal choice as it will protect your teeth more effectively.
-Mouth-Formed Protector: If a custom-fit mouth guard is not an option, one step down is to purchase a “boil and bite” protector from your sporting goods store. This type of mouth guard is one that, after being heated, will be placed in your mouth to conform to the shape of your teeth and then be allowed to set.
-Off the Shelf Mouth Guard: This type of mouth guard is the lowest cost option and certainly is a helpful tool in protecting your teeth and mouth during play. Although not as effective as more expensive options, it will still provide a strategic layer of protection for your mouth.
Wear a Helmet
If you are involved in speed or impact sports, a helmet is a must. Such sports include skating, hockey, football, and bike riding, etc.
-Make sure the helmet fits correctly.
-Ensure you have a helmet that is designed for the particular sport you are engaging. A football helmet will protect quite differently from a bike helmet or a skating helmet, etc.
General Tips to Preventing Dental Injury
Even outside of sports, damage to the teeth can occur. A couple of additional tips to prevent everyday damage to your teeth include:
-Don’t chew ice, hard candy, popcorn kernels, or the like. Hard substances such as these can easily crack a tooth if you are not careful.
-Also use scissors or clippers to cut things. NEVER use your teeth.
Even when you take precautions, we do know that damage can occur. What happens, then, if a tooth does get damaged or knocked out as a result of an injury? Most often it can be saved if proper steps are taken and if dental treatment is sought right away. In addition to calling our office or heading to the emergency room, you will also want to make sure you keep the damaged tooth moist, as this will help preserve the tooth and increase the likelihood it can be salvaged.
Remember, River Valley Smile Center is your family’s partner for long-term dental health and is here to help you and your family maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime. To schedule an appointment, call our friendly office staff at 479.646.0706 or, for your convenience, fill out an appointment request here: https://www.ident.ws/template_include/new_patient_sign_in.do?site=10348&practiceId=35766.