Sports Dentistry

What is Sports Dentistry?
Sports dentistry is one of the most recent and upcoming field in dentistry. It involves the prevention and treatment of orofacial athletic injuries and related oral diseases and promoting information on athletic dental injuries and the encouragement of research for their prevention.

In sports, the challenge is to maximize participation while minimizing injuries. Maintaining good oral health is tough for professional athletes. Some sports have a higher risk of players sustaining dental injuries more than others, rending mouth guards an important piece of the kit to have.

Mentioned below are some common sports injuries:

Avulsion
Avulsion occurs when the entire tooth has been knocked out.
Dos:

  1. If debris is on tooth, gently rinse with water.
  2. Transport Immediately to Dentist. Time is very important in avulsion cases. A re-implant within 30 minutes has the highest chance for success. 
  3. If possible, re-implant tooth and stabilize by biting down gently on the towel or handkerchief. Do only if athlete is alert and conscious.
  4. If unable to re-implant, store the tooth as follows, While in transit to the dentist’s clinic:
  1. Best - Place the tooth in a physiologic transport medium (e.g. Hank's Balanced Saline Solution)
  2. 2nd best - Place the tooth in milk.
  3. 3rd best - Wrap the tooth in saline-soaked gauze.
  4. 4th best - Place tooth under the athlete's tongue. Do this only if athlete is conscious and alert.

Don’ts:

  1. Do not handle tooth by the root.
  2. Do not brush or scrub the tooth.
  3. Do not try to sterilize the tooth.

Luxation

Luxation is when the tooth is in its socket, but has been pushed out of position. Usually there are three forms of tooth luxation:

  1. Extruding Tooth: This occurs when the upper tooth hangs downs and/or lower tooth rises up. If this happens, reposition tooth in socket using firm finger pressure. Try to stabilize the tooth by gently biting on towel or handkerchief and rush the athlete to a dentist.
  2. Lateral Displacement: It is when the tooth is pushed back or pulled forward. Try to reposition tooth using finger pressure. Stabilize the tooth by gently biting on towel or handkerchief.
  3. Intruded Tooth:  If tooth is pushed into gum and looks short, do nothing. It is a case of intruded tooth.  Avoid any repositioning of tooth and take the athlete immediately to a dentist.

 Fracture
If tooth is totally broken in half, save the broken portion and bring to the dental office following these guidelines:

  1. Best - Place the tooth in a physiologic transport medium (e.g. Hank's Balanced Saline Solution)
  2. 2nd best - Place the tooth in milk.
  3. 3rd best - Wrap the tooth in saline-soaked gauze.
  4. 4th best - Place tooth under athlete's tongue. Do this only if athlete is conscious and alert.

Stabilize portion of tooth left in mouth by gently biting on towel or handkerchief to control bleeding. Should extreme pain occur, limit contact with other teeth, air or tongue, as the pulp nerve may be exposed. Transport the athlete and tooth fragments to a dentist immediately.