4 Dental Emergencies That Athletes Need to Be Careful Of

American football player with mouthguard dangling off helmet

As thrilling as sports can be, they don’t come without risk – particularly when it comes to the smile. It’s not uncommon for athletes to suffer from injured teeth and gums as a result of a particularly nasty blow. Do you or anyone in your family play sports? If so, then it’s important to be aware of these 4 dental emergencies that athletes often experience as well as how they’re typically dealt with.

1. Chipped or Fractured Teeth

Enamel is much stronger than your bones, but it can still break. As such, your teeth can potentially become damaged if you get hit in the face or head. Sometimes the enamel might just be slightly chipped, but in other cases, it can become severely cracked.

It’s often possible for dentists to reattach broken-off portions of the teeth, but if this is no longer a viable option, the damage will need to be repaired with a dental restoration like a filling or crown.

2. Fractured Tooth Roots

It’s bad enough when the top part of the tooth is damaged, but in severe cases, the injury might reach the roots. This can make biting and chewing quite painful, and it could put the tooth at risk for an infection.

Oftentimes, root canal therapy is needed to treat a tooth with a fractured root. However, if saving the tooth isn’t possible, your dentist may recommend having it removed and replaced.

3. Knocked-Out Teeth

In many sports – particularly those that involve combat or full contact – it’s not unheard of for athletes to occasionally have their teeth knocked out altogether. Tooth loss is an extremely urgent dental emergency because the tooth can only be outside of the mouth for so long before reimplanting it becomes impossible.

The best thing you can do when a tooth is knocked out is to get to your dentist’s office in less than an hour so that they can try and save it. You should also be prepared to consider replacement options (such as a dental bridge) if the reimplantation process is unsuccessful.

4. Tooth Intrusion

On rare occasions, a blow to the mouth might drive the tooth further into the jawbone. This is known as tooth intrusion, and it’s a very severe type of injury that can have serious consequences, such as a shortened tooth root.

Your dentist will need to examine the affected tooth before putting together a treatment plan, which often involves root canal therapy or oral surgery.

In short, there are many different dental issues that athletes need to watch out for. Make sure that no one in your family ever heads out onto the field or court without a mouthguard.

About the Author

Dr. Roman Kotlarek went to the University of Texas Health and Science Center in San Antonio, where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery. Today at Roman Dental in Houston, he focuses on making dental care pleasant and comfortable for all of his patients. If you have a dental emergency, he can often make arrangements to see you on the same day as your call. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kotlarek, visit his website or call (281) 784-3233.