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Accidents, Fights and Sporting Injuries

Somewhere somehow we have all had an encounter with someone with a chipped front tooth, or maybe a tooth that once was white (or some version of white at least) but now greyish. Teachers or mums do you recall the feeling of panic when a child rushes in after an accident with blood dripping from their mouth? How do you know what to do when accidents occur?

Dental injuries are more common than one would think with a prevalence of 20-30%. Almost 30% of pre-school children have experienced trauma to their teeth. That’s a large percentage considering how the oral region only accounts to 1% of our total body area! And to top it all off injuries often occur to the upper front teeth, the most obvious teeth in a smile.

Lets look at some of the risks of dental injuries, this way one can reduce the likelihood of injuries occurring where possible.

  • Falls are common between the ages of 1-3 as children are usually both unsteady on their legs and lacking a proper sense of caution.
  • Between the ages of 7-10 children are more adventurous as bicycle and playground accidents are more common.
  • In adolescents injuries can mostly be accounted to sporting activities
  • In adults most dental injuries are due to fights and traffic accidents
    Other contributing factors are tongue piercings, increased over jet ( protruding upper teeth) , physical disabilities such as epilepsy.

Now comes the question of what to do when injuries happen? Which injuries need to be addressed as soon as possible?

Chipped Tooth
Salvage any broken pieces and rinse the mouth using warm salty water. Rinse any broken pieces and place them in a bag to take to a dentist. You will need to see a dentist as soon as possible

These are the most common injuries and can generally be restored successfully with either a filling or a crown depending on the extent of tooth damage. If the injury extends into the pulp of the tooth root canal treatment maybe needed

Loose Tooth

A loosened tooth or one that’s been pushed inwards, outwards or sideways will need dental treatment within 6 hours. See a dentist as soon as possible.

Displaced teeth will need to be repositioned by a dentist. These teeth usually need to be splinted for a few weeks and may need root canal treatment.

Tooth knocked out

A tooth that’s been knocked out needs to be treated right away. Avoid holding the tooth’s roots and clean it gently with water. Do not scrub it or remove any tissue fragments. Either place it back in the mouth in the dental socket (only with adult teeth) or place it in a plastic bag with cold milk or saliva from the child’s/adult’s mouth. Next you need to rush to the dentist straight away as treatment for knocked out teeth is best within a 1 hour of injury.

Dental injuries can be very traumatic and prevention is always better than cure. Wearing mouth guards during sport or even active play can prevent many injuries. Mouth guards act as a shock absorber by cushioning the teeth from direct blows or forces of impact. Don’t be caught off guard, if you or your child play sport talk to a dentist about getting a custom made mouth guard.

We would love to answer any questions relating to dental injuries, don’t hesitate to ask anyone of our