With the summer season of sports kicking off in schools and clubs, one of the most important ways of protecting your teeth is with a mouthguard. Mouthguards are a great preventive measure against dental injuries such as a tooth being knocked out (avulsion), displaced (luxation) or broken (tooth fractures), and they achieve this by being a stress absorber and distributor. Instead of total force being applied to a single tooth – the effect being potentially to knock the tooth out of its socket – the force is absorbed by the mouthguard, and the resultant force is distributed amongst all the teeth contained inside the mouthguard. This produces a net effect of a much smaller force on each tooth.
However, if you’re on the field or cheering from the sideline, and there’s been an accident and a tooth has been knocked out or broken, it’s important to know what to do, as your intervention will have a significant impact. Your prompt action at the time of the injury will increase the likelihood of saving the tooth – possibly preserving the tooth for a number of years. The table below summarises what you should do for baby teeth and adult teeth respectively.
If a baby tooth has been knocked out or displaced, do not try to reposition it back into the socket.
If a baby tooth has been broken or chipped:
If an adult tooth has been knocked out, replace the tooth as soon as possible.
If an adult tooth has been broken or chipped:
As outlined above, the right thing to do regardless of the circumstance is to seek immediate dental attention after the incident, preferably within 30-60 minutes of the injury.
In a stressful situation like a dental injury, it is not uncommon to feel you have to act and make decisions alone. While prompt action is crucial (especially when the tooth has been knocked out, as the time the tooth is out of the mouth is the most important factor), you don’t have to act alone – it is always a good idea to call your dentist for advice. By calling NDC, we can walk you through what to do and organise to see you immediately.