Topic: Athletics and the Importance of Mouth Guards
Fall sports are just getting started we want to help educate the importance of mouth guards and the prevention of dental injury. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a mouth guard for all children and youth participating in organized sports activities. Examples of these activities would be: football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey. Wrestlers are mandated if they have braces.
Mouth guards help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. A mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of standard athletic equipment from an early age.
Types of Mouth guards
- Custom-made: These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are created for fit and comfort.
- Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be purchased at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in hot water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.
- Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP
- Pain, tenderness or sensitivity in the tooth
- Broken, loose, or missing tooth after trauma
- Be sure to look for any portion of the tooth in the area of the accident to confirm that the tooth has not been inhaled or swallowed
- Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes of pressure
- Pain in the jaw with opening or closing
- Any difficulty swallowing or breathing
- If there is an object stuck in the roof of the mouth, cheek tongue, or throat (do NOT remove the object)
- Large cuts in the mouth, face or lips
- Soreness in the throat
- Cut to the lip extending through the lips border
- Weakness, numbness, blurred vision or slurred speech
- Child develops fever
If dental injury occurs, call 911 and seek help immediately
TYPES OF INJURIES AND STEPS TO TREATMENT
With any dental injury, time is of the essence, so contact your dentist immediately!
- Avulsed tooth – the tooth is no longer in the socket
- Gather the tooth and place into cold milk. Handle the tooth carefully, do not scrub or sterilize the tooth. Seeing the dentist as soon as possible improves the likelihood the tooth will survive.
- Loose tooth - the tooth has mobility
- Avoid moving the tooth. Your dentist may be able to splint the tooth in place to save the tooth.
- Fractured/cracked/chipped tooth – an area of the tooth is missing or cracked and may (or may not) be missing
- Gather any portion of the tooth (if possible) and see your dentist within 2 days. The area may be sensitive to hot / cold.
- Cuts to the lips, tongue, gum or cheeks
- Some cuts, wounds or tears may require stitches however, within the mouth, most do not. Tongue and lip cuts, wounds or tears should be evaluated to determine if stitches are required.
- Jaw fractures – broken, fractured or dislocated joints
- All broken, fractured or dislocated joints should be evaluated immediately
Nebraska Oral & Facial Surgery’s Mayo-trained doctors are here to assist with any unexpected oral injuries and get you back on the field as soon as possible!
Nebraska Oral & Facial Surgery is the premier oral and maxillofacial surgery center in Nebraska with offices in Lincoln & Columbus. David Rallis, DDS, MD; David Cleverly, DDS; Kevin Rieck, DDS, MD; and Matthew Davis, DDS, MD have been trained in the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Their expertise ranges from wisdom teeth removal to dental implant placement to facial reconstruction.