40% of All Dental Injuries Are Sports Related

Sports related dental injuries

Protect your teeth from dental trauma. 

Sports are America’s favorite pastime, bringing people together and instilling a feeling of pride in participants, not to mention the health benefits from the activity itself. However, all sports have some risk for injury, even dental injury, especially contact sports such as basketball, football, hockey, martial arts, and boxing.

A staggering 40% of all dental injuries in the United States are sports related (that’s more than one-third), and of those, some 80% affect at least one of the front teeth. A custom-fitted mouth guard is paramount, especially for fast-moving or high-impact sports.

In the unfortunate event that a sports-related dental injury does occur, Dr. Mohan M. Enjati, DDS, and the experienced team at MASC Dental Studio offer 5-star dentistry to all their valued patients with the highest quality treatments available.

Sports-Related Dental Injuries and Treatment

Common dental sports injuries and dental trauma include crown and root fractures, tooth intrusion and extrusion, tooth avulsion, and the danger of root resorption. 

Crown Fracture and Crown-Root Fracture

The tooth is made up of three main layers. The enamel is the hard outer surface, while the dentin is just beneath it protecting the pulp, which contains the neurovascular structures of the tooth. The crown is the portion of the tooth exterior to the gum, while the root sits below the gum line. 

A fracture is when a tooth is broken or cracked, which can happen as a result of a car accident, trauma to the face, or even while chewing if the tooth is already weakened from decay. A crown (tooth) fracture can affect the enamel layer only, the enamel-dentin layer (uncomplicated fracture), or all three layers (complicated fracture), while a crown-root fracture originates in the crown and extends to the root, affecting the dentin, pulp and cementum (connective tissue).

The first thing to do in any crown or crown-root fracture is to look for the broken-off tooth fragment. Thanks to modern bonding technology it’s possible to rebond the fragment to the tooth, which is esthetically the best solution. Seeing your dentist straight away will give the tooth the best chance of being restored to full strength and function. 

Tooth Intrusion and Extrusion

Tooth intrusion is where the tooth is displaced/pushed down into the bone, while tooth extrusion is where the tooth is pulled upwards out of the bone. Treatment and prognosis of these dental traumas vary by patient age, dentition type, root development, time from—and severity of—the trauma. Both of these dental trauma injuries need to be urgently treated to give the tooth the best chance of being restored, and to ensure patient comfort and reduce wound healing complications.

Tooth Avulsion

More than 5 million teeth are avulsed (displaced from their socket) each year, many as a result of a sports injury. Replantation of an avulsed tooth should occur within 10 minutes; however, if this is not possible, the tooth should be rinsed of any debris, handled carefully by its crown, then transported in salt solution, cold milk, saliva (inside the patient’s cheek though be aware of the swallow risk), saline, or water. Primary (baby) teeth should not be replanted.

Danger of Root Resorption

Root resorption is the process in which the body breaks down and absorbs tissue surrounding a tooth. In most cases it is due to a physical or sports-related injury to the tooth, such as impact. The trauma leads to inflammation that, in turn, results in resorption. Children experience root resorption when they lose their baby teeth, however, root resorption isn’t beneficial to adults, potentially resulting in tooth nerve damage, gum damage, or trauma to the tooth itself. 

Preventative Dental Care

Between one-third and one-half of all athletes will receive a sports-related dental injury, with most of these occurring in athletes who are not wearing mouth guards. It’s no surprise then that the American Dental Association (ADA) states that sports mouth guard use has been shown to reduce the risk of sport-related dental injuries. The ADA recommends wearing a properly fitted mouth guard to reduce the incidence and severity of oral injury in sporting or recreational activities, particularly activities with significant risk of dental trauma. 

According to the ADA Council of Scientific Affairs and the Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention, an ideal mouth guard should be properly fitted to the wearer’s mouth and accurately adapted to his or her oral structures; be made of resilient material approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and cover all remaining teeth on one arch; stay in place comfortably and securely; be physiologically compatible with the wearer (avoiding potential allergies); be relatively easy to clean; and have high-impact energy absorption to reduce or limit transmitted forces upon impact.

With approximately 30 million children and adolescents involved in sports annually in the United States, dental trauma is a significant concern for parents. 

In Case of Injury

In the unfortunate event that a sports-related dental injury does occur, Dr. Mohan M. Enjati, DDS, and the experienced team at MASC Dental Studio provide a comprehensive range of dental procedures, including restoration dentistry, to effectively treat most oral issues, in a comfortable environment, with compassionate care, and great results.
When treating dental trauma, the timeliness of care is key to saving the tooth. So be prompt about giving us a call at (202) 244-6000. Dr. Enjati, at the MASC Dental Studio near Friendship Heights, Washington, DC, has years of experience in restoring people’s smiles and is here for all your dental care needs, sports-related and otherwise.