There are lots of sports that can cause injury. In fact, most sports can injury an athlete in some way, but it is important to know what to do when a dental emergency arises on the playing field. For example, many hockey players consider a lost tooth a badge of honor, but it is possible to reimplant a knocked-out adult tooth. Unfortunately, this is considered a dental emergency and needs to be addressed immediately if you want to save your tooth. A severed root experiences damage to blood vessels and tissue, but the ligaments connecting the tooth to the bone can be re-formed.
Assuming you can find the tooth, avoid scraping off any dirt particles, as you risk damaging the root further. Instead, rinse it gently with a saline solution while carefully handling it by the crown. If possible, place the tooth back in its original socket, or store it in a small container with saline or milk. Milk—containing proteins, sugar, and antibacterial substances—provides the ideal environment for a lost tooth. As an added bonus, the sugars in milk help feed cells, which need to remain alive and growing in the short term.
Don’t have access to any of the above? Don’t panic. Your cheek will work well for storage in the interim; just be careful not to swallow your precious cargo.
Placing pressure on the gums will also help to reduce the bleeding and pain as you are en route to the dentist. Depending on the damage, a successful reimplanted tooth can heal significantly in three to four weeks and become fully repaired within two months. And remember, mouth guards are a great way to keep your teeth in tact on the field.
If you would like more information about dental emergencies, call Dr. Greg J. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.
Dr. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.