How to Care for Sports-Related Dental Injuries

According to the American Dental Association, approximately 20 million children in the United States participate in organized sports programs. And, more than 5 million teeth are “knocked out” each year; many during these organized sports activities.

So, what should you do if your child injures or knocks out his or her tooth during sports?

First and foremost, a properly fitted mouth guard should be standard equipment for any sport or physical activity. A mouth guard is the best line of defense against a dental-related injury.

While there are many types of dental injures, there are three common sports-related injuries:

  1. The entire tooth is knocked out
  2. The tooth is still in the socket but is twisted or pushed in the wrong direction
  3. The tooth is cracked or broken

If the entire tooth is knocked out,

  • Do not handle tooth by the root, brush it or try to “sterilize” it.
  • If possible, put the tooth back in the socket and stabilize it by biting down gently on a towel or handkerchief. Do this only if your athlete is alert and conscious.
  • If you are unable to return the tooth to the socket, place the tooth in milk or wrap it in saline-soaked gauze.
  • Contact your dentist immediately.

If the tooth is still in the socket but is twisted or pushed in the wrong direction,

  • If the upper tooth hangs downs,  the lower tooth is raised up, or a tooth is pushed backwards or forward, try to reposition the tooth using finger pressure.  Then, contact your dentist immediately.
  • If the tooth pushed into the gum (up or down), don’t do anything.  Contact your dentist immediately.

If the tooth is cracked or broken,

  • If the tooth is totally broken in half, save the broken portion and bring it with you to the dental office.
  • Stabilize the portion of tooth that is left in the mouth by gently biting on a towel or handkerchief to control bleeding.
  • And, contact your dentist immediately.

Whenever you have a dental-related sports injury, feel free to contact us . . .  immediately.  After all, that is what we are here for!