Teeth Injuries in Sports

Published May 31, 2023

If you play sports, you probably wear protective gear. But have you taken measures to protect your teeth and prepare for potential dental emergencies? In this article our Winnipeg dentists share how to prepare, discuss facts around common sports injuries in teeth, and more.

Sports-Related Tooth Injury

As sports enthusiasts, we’ve all witnessed our favourite athletes or teammates experience cracked or knocked-out teeth and other dental injuries while chasing after a ball or bouncing puck.

Unfortunately, these sports-related injuries happen daily and lead to dental emergencies, potentially causing long-term damage to oral and overall health. But these injuries and their consequences don’t have to be an inevitable part of playing sports.

Arming yourself with knowledge about common dental injuries in sports, prevention methods, and how to react when they occur can help maintain your oral health even in the face of an unexpected mouth injury. Plus, by investing in a custom-made sports mouthguard fitted by your dentist, you can protect your pearly whites and keep your oral health in check, all while staying in the game and avoiding injury-related downtime.

What is the most common sports-related tooth injury?

There are actually 3 common sports-related injuries in teeth. Athletes may end up with any of these or other injuries in a given season:

Fractured Roots

Picture this: a tooth takes a hit at just the right angle and – bam! – you’ve got a fractured root. This sneaky injury starts at the root and works its way up to the visible part of the tooth.

These fractures often hide in plain sight, only revealing themselves when an infection rears its ugly head. The fracture’s position along the root can make or break the severity of this dental dilemma.

Got a fractured root? Don’t delay! Rush to your emergency dental clinic for root canal therapy (a.k.a. endodontic treatment) to prevent that pesky infection from spreading in the tooth pulp. Act fast, and you just might save your tooth from a tragic, necrosis-induced end.

Cracked Teeth

Believe it or not, even though our teeth are incredibly strong, they can still crack or fracture during sports activities if we take a hit to the face.

Superficial cracks might not be a huge concern, but if the crack starts at the crown and extends downward, we’re talking about a cracked tooth that needs attention.

Keep an eye out for symptoms like sharp pain when biting down or toothaches that come and go without constant pain. If the tooth’s outer enamel is lost, it can expose deeper layers and even lead to a root canal or extraction if the crack affects the cusp and extends beyond the gumline.

Tooth Intrusion

When you think of sports injuries involving teeth, you might instantly picture a knocked-out tooth. However, there’s another sneaky culprit to watch out for: tooth intrusion, where teeth get pushed back into the jawbone.

Don’t let its prevalence in baby teeth fool you; this injury can affect athletes at any age and can bench you for a significant recovery period.

Furthermore, tooth intrusion can lead to the destruction or death (necrosis) of tooth pulp, irreparable damage, root resorption (shortened roots), and even ankylosis (the injured tooth’s root fusing with the alveolar bone).

Which sports pose the greatest risk for dental injuries?

Teeth injuries can happen in both low-contact and high-impact sports, with basketball, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey being among the top offenders.

What to do if you suffer a dental injury during sports?

Dental emergencies usually strike when we least expect them, especially when we’re immersed in our favourite sports. Knowing how to respond to dental trauma and taking steps to ease pain (and possibly save your tooth) can help you stay calm and act swiftly if an injury occurs.

If you’re faced with a sports-related dental injury, head to our dental office as soon as you can for treatment.

Oftentimes, fractured teeth can be fixed by reattaching the broken piece of tooth. If not, our dentist may use bonding, tooth-colored fillings, or a crown to patch things up.

In the meantime, try these tips to manage pain:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water
  • Apply pressure to the area using gauze until bleeding ceases
  • Use a cold ice pack on your cheek or lips to ease pain and minimize swelling
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

How can I protect my teeth while playing sports?

Engaging in sports is not only a fantastic way to have fun but also helps you stay fit and healthy. However, high-impact activities come with a certain level of risk. At Winnipeg Emergency Dentist, we often find ourselves saving or replacing teeth after sports-related injuries.

That being said, we always emphasize that prevention is better than cure. Preserving your natural teeth reduces the risk of oral health issues in the long run. Although dentists can perform root canals or discuss tooth replacement options, taking preventive measures is the best course of action.

A crucial step in protecting your teeth is getting a custom-made sports mouth guard from your regular dentist and wearing it whenever you hit the rink, court, or field. So, play it safe and keep that winning smile intact!

Are you experiencing a sports-related tooth injury in Winnipeg? Don’t hesitate to contact our emergency dentists right away. We’ll assess your injury and recommend the best treatment options.

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