CDA recommends mouthguards to prevent oral injuries, dental emergencies

August 10, 2012
Stan Goff
Issue 8

More and more people, young and old, are participating in sports these days. Student athletes are preparing for another school year, the Olympics are all over the news, and football season is just around the corner.  


More and more people, young and old, are participating in sports these days. Student athletes are preparing for another school year, the Olympics are all over the news, and football season is just around the corner.

 

 

With all of this in mind, it’s important dentists educate their patients on the importance of protecting their mouths and also on what to do should a dental emergency occur.

 

Custom-fitted mouthguards from a dentist are one of the best ways to help protect athletes. Today some dentists manufacture these mouthguards themselves in-office, while many dental labs are quite involved in proving these appliances for their dentist customers.

 

The California Dental Association (CDA) is a great resource for information on mouthguards as well as information and advice on how to handle dental accidents.

 

Below is a press release from the CDA:

 

CDA offers tips to avoid dental emergencies

Sacramento, Calif. - Summer is here, and as parents and children enjoy the recreational sports and activities that typically come with the warm weather, the California Dental Association is providing tips to avoid oral injuries and dental emergencies.

 

Popular summer activities, like swimming, baseball and biking, can increase the potential for injuries to the teeth and mouth. 

 

“These injuries are often painful but can be easily prevented by wearing a mouthguard,” said pediatric dentist and CDA President-Elect Lindsey Robinson, DDS. “To avoid other oral injuries, like a cracked tooth, refrain from chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy.”

 

If a dental emergency does occur, CDA recommends keeping the following tips in mind:

 

If a tooth is knocked out, attempt to find the tooth and immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment. If found, carefully pick up the tooth by its crown and immerse in milk or a special media called Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution. Do not attempt to replace the tooth into the socket-this could cause further damage. If milk or solution is not available, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and place in saliva.

 

“Getting to the dentist as soon as possible is key to saving a knocked out tooth. Often if it’s within half an hour of the injury, it may be possible to re-implant the tooth,” Robinson said.

 

If a tooth is broken, treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture but the mouth should be rinsed with warm water to clean the area and a cold compress applied to reduce any swelling.

 

Minor fractures can be smoothed restored with a composite restoration, or simply left alone. Regardless, a fractured tooth should be treated with care for several days. Moderate and severe fractures include damage to the enamel, dentin and/or pulp and should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible to determine proper treatment.

 

For injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, like tears, puncture wounds and lacerations to the cheek, lips or tongue, clean the wound right away and visit an emergency room for necessary suturing or repair. Reduce bleeding from a tongue laceration by pulling the tongue forward and using gauze to place pressure on the wounded area.