Tips to Prevent Tooth and Mouth Injuries

Injuries to the teeth and mouth are common.

The stats

  • Most tooth loss in people under the age of 35 is caused by athletic trauma, fights or accidents.
  • Up to 40% of dental injuries in older adolescents and adults occur while playing sports.
  • Approximately 80% of dental injuries affect one or more of the front teeth and may cause damage to soft tissues – the tongue, lips, and inner cheeks.
  • Males are twice as likely as females to sustain dental trauma and more likely to experience more than one episode.
  • If a second injury occurs, in a previously traumatised teeth, tooth fracture is common and this will decrease the tooth lifespan.
  • Dental trauma sustained in childhood may bring life-long restorative dental treatment need and monitoring.

Tips to Prevent Sports-Related Tooth and Mouth Injuries

1. Mouth guards

When playing sports, the best way to protect your teeth and mouth is by wearing a mouth guard.  Three types of mouthguard are available; stock, boil and bite and custom fitted. A custom fitted mouthguard offers maximum protection and is the recommended option for all sportspersons where dental trauma may occur:

  • Stock Mouthguards can be used without modification. They are usually held in place by clenching the teeth together.
  • Boil and Bite Mouthguards are moulded after immersion in hot water and adapted by the wearer using their finger, tongue and biting pressure and offer a better fit than a stock mouthguard. This is not ideal, as it relies on the sportsperson to take an accurate uniform dental impression of themselves. Stock and Boil and Bite mouthguards offer the lowest level of protection and may be bulky, of uneven uniform thickness and poorly retained in the mouth.

Custom Fitted Mouthguards offer the best protection and should be made only after a full mouth dental assessment. The custom fitted mouthguard is made using an accurate impression of the patient’s teeth  taken by a dental professional. It ensures maximum protection, comfort, optimal uniform thickness, retention and minimises breathing and gagging problems. It can be tailor made to the individual’s request and sport. At Dental Logic we are able to produce bespoke custom fitted mouthguards for  a wide variety of sports. Having a professionally made mouth guard can make all the difference and protect from those tackles or even hockey/cricket balls.

Regular mouthguard cleaning and checks are recommended. An older mouthguard may become worn, thin and ill fitting.  A quick check with our dental team can be undertaken if you have any doubt regarding your current mouthguard.

2. Face cages:

This equipment protects against trauma to the face, especially when playing certain sports positions, like cricket wicket keeper or hockey goalie.

3. Helmets:

It’s always wise to wear a helmet made for the activity that you are participating in. Although most helmets won’t protect the teeth and mouth, they will protect another important area – your head, to help protect against a brain concussion.

Can Knocked-Out Teeth Be Repaired?

Yes, knocked-out teeth can be repaired, and the sooner you can get to the dentist, the better. Knocked-out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within one hour of being knocked out. If a tooth has been knocked out, gently rinse any debris from the root and attempt to place it back into the socket. If that’s not possible, hold it in the mouth on the way to the dentist. If all else fails, keep the tooth in milk until you get to there.

Even if your tooth can’t be saved, you haven’t necessarily lost your smile. Due to advances in dentistry, an implant, can now be anchored directly onto your jawbone, and with a porcelain crown attached, to aid in biting, chewing as well as aesthetic reasons.