Sports dentistry is one of the more recent and upcoming fields of common dentistry practices. Sports dentistry can be described as the prevention and treatment of various orafacial injuries, or injuries related to the face or mouth. As sports injuries or practices can often prelude various oral related disease and manifestations, sports dentistry is also involved in the treatment of these types of problems.
Sports dentistry is necessary to treat a number of problems and dental emergencies that can occur while playing sports. Three of the most common injuries associated with teeth are dental intrusions, extrusions, and avulsions.
Tooth intrusions are when the tooth is forced into the alveolar process, or is slammed up or down, depending on the tooth hit, down into the gum. This is the most severe type of displacement injury. In a majority of these cases, necrosis, or tissue death, occurs, and surgery is nearly always required to splint of remove the tooth entirely. Following up with a cosmetic dentist, however, can help recreate the tooth and renew and damage to the athlete’s smile.
Tooth extrusions are when a tooth is forced slightly, but not entirely out of the socket. These are far less severe than both intrusions and avulsions, and sports dentistry is well-practiced in this type of treatment. Treatment for a dental extrusion by a sports dentist is usually as easy as gently repositioning the tooth into place, splinting it, and subsequently monitoring the health of the pulp around the tooth. While root canal therapy may be required, this is not always the case.
Rather than impacted inward or slightly outward, and tooth avulsion is when the tooth is completely displaced from the socket. Some of the most dramatic of cases faced in sports dentistry, it is imperative to handle the avulsed tooth with care and not roughly- as this improves the chance that the tooth can be repaired and recover full function. However, the longer the period of time between putting the tooth back into the mouth, the less likely it is the the tooth will recover.
Fortunately for athletes, practices in sports dentistry have made it easier to prevent dental traumas and emergencies. The most widely established and practice method of sports dentistry emergency prevention is mouth guard. While many types of mouthguards are available, and many can be bought over the counter, but it is generally recommended to have a custom mouthguard created. In addition to aiding further in injury prevention, the custom fit has many advantages, including ease of speech, comfort, and retention.
If you’re a coach or a parent and you’re reading this, we collected a short list of things to keep on the sidelines to aid your athlete if they suffer an orafacial injury.
|Sports Dentistry Emergency Kit|
|Mouth Mirror||Mixing pad|
|Pen light||Tongue Depressor|
|2×2 Gauze||4×4 Gauze|
|Scissors||Spare commercial mouth guard|
|Rope wax||Tooth-preserving solution|
|Zinc oxide eugenol||Sterile, small cutting wire cutters|
Coaches, interested in getting a team dentist like the NY Lizards? Give us a call and we’ll develop a plan that works for your team!