Dental Care for Athletes 101
Dental trauma can happen to anyone. Tooth and soft tissue injuries can develop from tripping and falling on the stairs, for instance, but athletes are undoubtedly at a higher risk of dental trauma than most people. Amateur and professional athletes alike can benefit from seeing a sports dentistry specialist. A dentist who has experience working with athletes can provide appropriate recommendations for mouth protection and care.
Always wear your sports mouth guard.
If you don’t yet have a sports mouth guard, you need to visit a dentist right away. Over-the-counter (OTC) mouth guards are available. These are typically the “bite and boil” kind. Unfortunately, since they aren’t custom-fitted, OTC mouth guards can be uncomfortable, poorly fitted, and inadequate. As a result, athletes might be tempted to skip wearing them, leaving themselves even more vulnerable to dental trauma. Protect your smile by visiting a dentist to have a custom-fitted mouth guard made, and always wear it for practices and games. You’ll thank yourself for it the next time you get tackled, take a tumble, or get hit by a hockey puck.
Keep your sports mouth guard clean.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to gently brush your mouth guard after every time you wear it. Some people like to rinse the mouth guard with antiseptic mouthwash to kill germs. Afterward, rinse it in cool water, and pat it dry with a clean towel before storing it in its container. Clean the container regularly too.
Know what to do for an avulsed tooth.
An avulsed tooth is one that has been completely expelled from the mouth. If you act right away, your dentist can save the tooth. Just follow these rules:
- Only handle a knocked-out tooth by the crown, not the root.
- You can rinse the tooth in water, but never scrub it, dry it, or use cleaning products.
- Gently replace the tooth in its socket if possible.
- If you can’t replace the tooth, place it in a clean cup with tooth preservation product (available at drugstores).
- If you lack tooth preservation liquid, use a cup of milk.
- Get to the dentist as soon as possible.
The team at University Associates in Dentistry has more experience than most in treating sports-related dental trauma. We are the official sports dentists for the Chicago Blackhawks. Call our office at (312) 704-5511 to request our next available sports dentistry consultation.
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