Sports Related Dental Injuries
By Maribel Santos-Cordero, DMD
Sophie was the best soccer player in her team. A kick to the chin at practice left her mandible fractured and her tongue cut open. Paul was just waiting for his turn at bat. A boy swung for warm up and accidentally hit his mouth. Paul’s upper lip was split in two, one permanent front tooth fell on the ground and three more teeth were fractured.
More than 25 % of sports related injuries involve the mouth and teeth. Injuries to primary teeth have the potential to affect the development of the permanent teeth. Tongue, lips, and gums can be lacerated, bruised, and torn. Teeth can be displaced or even fall out of the mouth. If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out, time is critical. Handle the tooth only by the crown. Rinse under water if the tooth has visible debris. DO NOT scrub. Place it in saliva, saline solution, or milk. Go to your dentist immediately. A better outcome is expected when the tooth is replanted within an hour of the accident. If lips or gums are cut, apply pressure with gauze or a clean cloth for five minutes and observe. If still bleeding, contact your dentist or take your child to the emergency room.
Safety should be our priority as children get ready for yet another fall sports season. Knee pads, shin guards and helmets are all important to prevent bodily injuries. Sports mouthguards are just as important to protect the teeth. Sports mouthguards can be purchased “ready to wear”; however, custom made mouthguards offer better protection.
Sports organizations should keep a protocol to follow in case of dental injury. A dental emergency kit should contain: a small container with a lid to save a tooth, saline solution, sterile gauzes, clean cloths, a pediatric dentist’s telephone number and shortest route to nearest hospital. Not all emergencies may require immediate treatment, but it is important to contact your dentist for advice and further evaluation. Optimal treatment outcomes follow immediate assessment and care.
Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Lakewood Ranch dedicated to the oral health of children, adolescents, and children with special needs. She believes in helping children achieve their full potential by providing all the necessary tools to achieve optimal oral health. Visit www.sarasotachildrendentistry.com to learn more about her practice.