Got my tooth knocked out!
Not only protecting your teeth, a sports mouthguard can also prevent or reduce the impact of injuries to other parts of your head and jaw.
The Australian Dental Association states that there are 5 good reasons why you should wear a mouthguard when playing sport:
- Cushions teeth against impact
- Protects against jaw joint injuries
- Protects against soft tissue injuries
- Helps prevent neck and jaw injuries
- May help reduce concussion
To give the best protection against injuries, mouthguards should be custom-fitted by your dentist. At Central Brisbane Dental, your dentist can accurately assess your mouth and determine the mouthguard that is most appropriate for you. Impressions are taken of your teeth and gums to form models on which your mouthguard is custom-fitted to provide the best result. This ensures the mouthguard is comfortable, well-fitting, allows clear speech, won’t shift or fall out and won’t restrict breathing.
Over-the-counter mouthguards have a poorer fit to your teeth and gums and hence do not provide enough protection against injuries to your teeth, mouth or jaw. Although over-the-counter mouthguards are cheaper, it is worthwhile investing in a custom-fitted mouthguard from your dentist as dental injuries can be more costly.
If a dental injury has occurred, please see a dentist straight away as time is critical in preventing permanent damage.
If a tooth is cracked or chipped, place any broken pieces in milk or plastic wrap if milk is not available and take them with you to the dentist who can determine whether these pieces can be reattached.
If a tooth is completely knocked out, what you do is different depending on whether the tooth is a baby tooth or an adult tooth.
If a baby tooth is knocked out, it is important not to attempt to put it back into its socket as this may cause damage to the permanent tooth or lead to infection. A dentist needs to be seen straight away to make sure no other damage has been done and that there are no pieces of tooth remaining in the socket. A clean cloth should be used to apply pressure directly to the injured area to control bleeding. An ice pack or cold compress can be applied to the area to minimise swelling.
If an adult tooth is knocked out, it needs to be handled with extreme care in hope that it can be replaced in the mouth with success. The tooth must be handled gently, trying to avoid touching the root of the tooth, scraping or rubbing the tooth surface or removing any soft tissue fragments from the tooth. The tooth must be kept moist at all times but should not put it in ice or hot water or rinsed or stored in water for longer than 1 or 2 seconds. If the tooth is soiled, rinse the tooth in milk but if milk is not available, only very quickly in water to clean it. It is important to try and replace the tooth back into its socket within 5 to 10 minutes of it being knocked out, making sure it is facing the right way around. Once in position, it can be held in place by gently biting into a soft cloth. If the tooth cannot be replaced into its socket, place it in milk or seal it in plastic wrap to keep it moist. A dentist needs to be seen straight away.
If you are in doubt about whether the tooth is a baby or adult one, the best thing to do is to put it back in its socket. The risk of permanent damage to an adult tooth not being replaced promptly is much greater than the damage caused by a baby tooth being put back in.
Please visit the Australian Dental Association’s Mouthguard Awareness page: http://www.mouthguardawareness.info/ for more information.