Winter brings increased participation in vigorous sporting activities such as football and hockey, and with them a rise in injuries ranging from simple bruises to broken limbs and all in between.
One injury which is often overlooked involves teeth which may be broken or dislodged or even knocked out by a sharp blow.
These injuries are painful and distressing, for both patient and parent, and it is essential that quick action is taken. Damaged teeth can usually be restored provided prompt action is undertaken.
If a tooth has been broken, the person and the fragment should be taken immediately to a dentist. The fragment can sometimes be reattached by bonding it to the remaining tooth structure.
If a tooth has been knocked out, then long term survival of that tooth is possible if these steps are taken:
- If possible, replace the tooth immediately into the socket from which it came. If the tooth is dirty have the patient quickly lick it clean or if this is not possible wash it quickly in cold water.
- If this is not possible quickly place it in milk or wrap it in plastic food wrap. DO NOT STORE IT IN WATER as this will damage the delicate tissue on the root surface.
- These instructions apply only to second teeth and not to baby teeth, which should never be reimplanted.
Prevention is obviously the preferred option and we recommend that all participants in contact sports wear a mouthguard.
A professionally made and fitted mouthguard dramatically reduces the chance of injury.
Be sensible – safeguard your teeth and your children’s teeth with a mouthguard.