Whether organized or free-play sports are a rite of passage for most American adolescents. After all, over 100 million children play some type of team or recreational sports activity annually. But according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), approximately 84% of kids don’t wear mouth protection while playing unorganized sports. Other equipment such as pads, helmets, and activity-related gear are too often prioritized as they ignore the need or forget to protect teeth from injury. As such, athletes have a 10% chance of experiencing a serious dental or facial injury in a single season of playing their favorite sport. But what are some of the most common injuries that can be avoided by simply wearing a mouthguard for spring sports?
Chipped or Cracked Teeth
Teeth are strong enough to withstand most life requirements, but blunt trauma from sports is another matter altogether. Sometimes the enamel gets craze lines which are small cracks that are little more than a cosmetic issue. But actual cracks that start at the root and spread downward or spiderweb across the tooth can be a severe concern and even lead to chipped teeth or worse. Symptoms usually involve some form of sharp pain which can be felt when biting down or while eating or drinking. The pain may be constant or fade in and out but if any pain is present, you need to schedule an emergency dental appointment with your Moorestown Dentist. Cracked teeth aren’t always visible to the naked eye, but they can still lead to far more serious dental concerns if not diagnosed and treated quickly.
It’s easy to recognize a dental injury when it occurs in or on the crown of the tooth. But that isn’t always the origin. Sometimes the trauma causes a fracture beneath the gum line and within the root of the tooth. Fractures at this level are often invisible and result in a hairline crack that begins in the root and travels upward to the crown. Moderate to severe pain may be present, but the athlete may not be able to pinpoint exactly where it hurts. In the event of root fractures, it may not even show or present issues until an infection occurs. But because the fracture begins in the root, pulp damage may occur and lead to either a root canal or necrosis which can result in losing the tooth entirely.
Tooth loss or tooth avulsion is synonymous with sports play, and that can be easily handled by a professional dentist as long as time isn’t wasted in retrieving the tooth and visiting the dentist. However, sometimes the opposite occurs and that can be far more serious and painful. Tooth intrusion occurs when the mouth trauma causes the tooth to be driving back into the jawbone instead of falling out. This injury occurs mostly in boys between the ages of 6 to 12. The intrusion is usually not accompanied by a fracture or further tooth damage. However, root resorption (shortening of the roots) occurs in 70% of the injured teeth. And root necrosis is also possible in this type of injury. Fortunately, a simple mouthguard can protect teeth from injury before the pain, worry, and financial strain become an issue. Visit your Moorestown Dentist to get the right mouthguard for your loved ones so they can play it safe during their spring sports.