Dental Emergencies & Sports Safety

Definition

Any trauma to the mouth that causes bleeding and laceration of the gums, and concusses, dislodges, or fractures teeth and may require immediate medical attention.

Signs & Symptoms

As with any trauma to the mouth, you should consult your dentist immediately to determine if treatment is required. The dentist will examine the affected area and may take X-rays.

If you are in pain from a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, you may be able to take over-the-counter pain relief in the short term. If possible, keep any part of the tooth that has broken off and take it with you to the dentist.

Cause

Whether the result of an accident or biting on a piece of food that’s too hard, mouth injuries can cause teeth to become cracked, broken, or knocked out/dislodged.

 

Diagnosis

If a tooth is completely knocked out of the mouth by an injury, take the tooth to your dentist as soon as possible. It may be possible for your tooth to be placed back into your tooth socket, a procedure called re-implantation. If possible, reinsert the tooth in the socket immediately or transport it in a container with milk or wrapped loosely in plastic wrap.

Prevention

If you’re playing any contact sports, wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth from injury and trauma. Mouthguards are available at most sporting goods stores; however, to ensure a mouthguard fits properly, contact your dentist for a consultation to have one custom made to protect the teeth.

To help protect your teeth from injury while eating, avoid biting hard sweets and ice

Complications

If a broken tooth is not fixed it could become decayed and infected. An untreated infection can spread into your jaw or surrounding soft tissue. It could even spread to different parts of your body, leading to other health issues. Signs of an infection include swelling around the site of the broken tooth and nearby tissue, throbbing pain and sometimes a fever.

Related Conditions

Left untreated, dental trauma can lead to more serious complications. A fractured tooth, for instance, can be vulnerable to bacterial accumulation and decay. A jaw injury or possible fracture needs immediate attention at the Accident & Emergency Department at your local hospital.