“No one plans a tooth injury in sports, but it happens,” Dr. Grant Hinze said.
According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, more than 3 million teeth are knocked out annually during youth sports practices or games. Many of those tooth injuries can be prevented simply by wearing a mouth guard.
In football, mouth guards are required. In fact, a player who doesn’t wear a mouth guard can cost his team a 15-yard penalty.
However, football players aren’t the only ones who should be wearing mouth guards. Dr. Hinze recommends mouth guards for volleyball, bull-riding, wrestling, baseball and especially basketball. Dr. Hinze said he sees the highest amount of dental injuries from basketball.
In the past, local dental offices hosted mouth-guard fitting nights at the start of sports seasons. However, Dr. Hinze said today’s mouth guards are easy to purchase and fit at home, so the events became unnecessary.
Occasionally, a patient will have problems fitting a mouth guard on a child with braces, and Dr. Hinze said he and his staff are glad to help in that situation.
If A Dental Injury Occurs
If a tooth gets knocked out as the result of a sports injury or any injury, Dr. Hinze said the tooth can often be placed back in its spot if the roots are intact. This will help keep the tooth healthy until professional dental help can be found. If the tooth can’t be replaced, Dr. Hinze said it’s important to keep it hydrated with saliva or milk.
Time is critical in dental injuries. The child and the tooth should be transported to the dentist or an emergency room right away.
In the case of a chipped tooth, dental help should also be sought right away.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three main types of mouth guards:
- Ready-made: These come already pre-formed and ready to wear.
- Boil and Bite: These can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and are first softened in boiling water and then formed to the shape of the mouth.
- Custom Made: These are made by a dentist and are often more expensive and are mainly for special dental situations, such as braces.
A mouth guard is especially important for children who have braces. A blow to the face can damage brackets and orthodontic appliances and also injure the cheeks or gums.
For more information about mouth guards, please contact Dr. Hinze or his staff at (308) 995-5331.