If you’re anything like us, you believe that activities such as organized sports can significantly impact your child’s developmental skillset. Teamwork, physical activity, extracurricular engagement… the list goes on! At Smith & Heymann Orthodontics, we’re big fans of putting ’em in uniform!
But what about the unintended drawbacks? Kids will be kids, and accidents will happen. Sometimes, those accidents affect our orthodontic care, and when that happens, you could use a few tips to keep you informed on sports safety for kids’ mouths & orthodontic emergencies. Now that’s what I call a touchdown.
Not only that, but other accidents happen. So how do I avoid emergencies, and what do I do when they happen? Read on to learn more. We are here for your orthodontic emergencies.
What is an orthodontic emergency?
Well, that depends. Braces are complicated equipment, with different pieces that can and do sometimes break. Is a loose bracket an emergency? Probably not. How about a broken wire? Could be. What about a broken tooth? Now that’s an emergency! The American Dental Association stresses that in the event of a tooth knocked loose, the sooner you see your orthodontic professional, the better. In particular, The best chances for saving a tooth are to see your doctor within two hours. If you can’t make it in to see us in that timeframe, you should go to the emergency room!
Now, what are the most common activities that can lead to a knocked-out tooth? That’s right, sports. Read on to learn how to mitigate these concerns.
It’s All About Mouthguards!
If there’s one thing to take away from the reading today, it should be that mouthguards will be your best friend in sports safety.
Did you know that more than 500 million dollars yearly is spent on avulsed teeth? By avulsed, we mean the tooth has been torn or dislodged from its root structure. And did you know that one of the most common causes of these injuries is a physical activity like organized sports?
In fact, the American Dental Association reported that 13-39% of all tooth and jaw injuries are sports-related! Of these, the vast majority result from the tremendous popularity of organized sports such as Football and Soccer in schools.
There’s no doubt that a mouthguard will do wonders to protect your or your child’s teeth and jaws, but a sobering statistic demonstrates that in one of the most contact-oriented sports of all, Football, only two-thirds of participants were reported to wear their mouthguards! For soccer, it was even less, with only 7% of participants in intramural leagues said to be in compliance with the ADA’s recommendations!
Types of Mouthguards
Let’s talk a little bit about the different types of mouthguards. These are:
General Sports Mouthguard
Designed for a wide range of sports, these can be purchased at almost any sporting goods store. Sports mouthguards protect your teeth, lips, and jaw from any blunt force that may occur while engaging in physical activity.
While these are absolutely fantastic pieces of protective equipment, there are other options to consider if you or your child is currently undergoing orthodontic treatment.
These orthodontic mouthguards accommodate the added structure of traditional metal braces. They may come with additional padding to ensure that you or your child avoids laceration during contact sports due to your braces cutting the insides of your lips and cheek.
Additionally, these mouthguards have the added benefit of being endorsed by the ADA in some cases.
If you or your child is undergoing corrective orthodontic care and has equipment such as metal or ceramic braces, make it a point to seek out one of these mouthguards, if possible.
Over-the-Counter options, available at your local pharmacy, are designed primarily for people suffering from bruxism (tooth grinding).
They typically offer more protection than regular sports mouthguards, but remember, these are not designed for use with orthodontics. That’s why a specialty orthodontic mouthguard will be your best option for sports-related safety.
What Happens if My Child is Hurt During Sports?
First things first – Assess the damage. If an injury occurs during an organized sporting event, there should be someone available with proper medical training to determine the extent of the injury properly. If there’s any doubt, err on the side of caution – call the emergency room!
However, the majority of sports-related injuries aren’t going to require hospitalization. If your child is hurt while playing sports and you suspect there may be tooth and jaw damage, be sure to call Dr. Smith, Dr. Heymann, or Dr. Skillestad immediately to make an emergency appointment. If equipment is damaged, that could lead to worse injury due to exposed wiring or sharp edges!
As with any dental injury, the sooner you have it looked at by an expert, the sooner it can be dealt with appropriately. Injuries leading to damaged root systems or an exposed pulp chamber (think of it as the meat of the tooth) must be dealt with immediately to avoid potential complications.
Relax! We’ve Got You Covered!
No matter what happens, Dr. Smith, Dr. Heymann, and Dr. Skillestad have the know-how and the highly-trained team to take care of your or your child’s sports-related orthodontic injury quickly and safely. There’s no need to beat yourself up if something goes wrong on the field – remember, accidents happen!
At Smith & Heymann Orthodontics, you know you’re coming to see a group of highly-trained specialists with deep roots in the community who will treat your family like their family. So you can be confident picking up the phone and coming in to see us. Whether it’s a routine appointment or a pass gone bad, we’ve got you covered!