As the sun begins to peak through the clouds and warmer weather approaches, it is a concern for many parents to protect their little ones from injuries as they gear up for outdoor activities this spring. In fact, this time of the year numerous patients suffer with head, mouth, and facial injuries because of sports accidents. Did you know, according to research published in the Journal of American Dental Association, teeth injured from a traumatic accident may never completely heal? This could result in extra dental treatment costs and long-term problems within the oral cavity. Luckily, with the right equipment and information, these accidents can be prevented and your smile can remain safe and sound! Each April, National Facial Protection Month, sponsored by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Association of Orthodontists, reminds us to play hard, smart, and safe by taking the necessary safety measures to prevent sports-related accidents.
Prevention is key, take a look at how you can protect your pearly whites, and what you need to do if an accident does occur:
Approximately 80 percent of dental trauma occurs on the upper two front teeth. Unfortunately, mouthguard use in sports is very low, with about 67% of parents reporting that their child does not use a mouthguard. In addition, 27% of the same surveyed parents reported that their child had an emergency room visit due to a sports-related accident.
Baseball, soccer, basketball and football make up a good majority (80%) of sports-related emergency room visits for kids aged between 5 and 14, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, facial injuries can occur at any age and regardless of the sport!
Mouthguards are known to protect your face, and lower the risk of broken teeth and damage to the lips, tongue, jaw, and surrounding structures of the face. Your teeth are at a 60% higher risk of being damaged when a mouthguard is not worn for protection. Therefore, make sure that all who participate in sports or recreational activities own and wear a fitted mouthguard.
Take a look at the different types of mouthguards available:
A custom-made mouthguard is made by the dentist to the exact fit of your mouth. As a result, it provides the most protection and comfort, but is typically more expensive than the store-bought mouthguards. It covers all of the surfaces of the teeth and cushions the jaw.
Boil and Bite Mouthguard:
Boil-and-Bite mouthguards are placed in boiling water and then placed on the teeth to form the exact shape. It can be found at sports stores and other department stores. It is, however, less comfortable than the custom-made mouthguard and often wears down quicker and needs to be replaced often.
Found at several department stores, commercial mouthguards are the least expensive, but is the least effective because it cannot be shaped to the exact fit of your mouth. It is made out of rubber or polyvinyl and comes in generic small, medium, and large sizes.
Be sure to keep your mouthguard clean by rinsing and brushing it to remove any bacteria build up on the mouth guard.
If you or your child happen to be injured in the mouth, here's what you need to know:
- If your tooth chips or falls out and you can find the broken piece, store it immediately preferably in Hanks Balanced Salt Solution, or in milk, or water. You can also try to gently push an extruded tooth back into the socket after carefully rinsing. See your dentist immediately within 1 hour because time is critical if it can be placed back in position. When handling the tooth only hold it by the crown and not at the root.
- Cover the wound with a clean dressing and apply pressure. Visit an emergency room if wounds are severe.
Cuts within the mouth
- Rinse the mouth gently with cold water and apply pressure to cut with gauze. Immediately seek emergency care to evaluate for jaw injury. If you notice swelling, apply ice. Also, stick to soft food diet. Seek dental care or medical attention if to improvement occurs after a day.
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.
Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Derek. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.