What to do if teeth are knocked out in sports Dentist Fremont
What should you do about knocked out teeth?
It’s spring, and you know what that means: baseball season!
In the Selway house, it’s all about baseball this time of year. All four of my boys are playing for Alum Rock Little League this year. My oldest son Tim is playing in the majors for the Royals, my middle sons Anthony and Sean are both playing in the minors for the Rays, and my youngest son Vinnie is playing for the Farm Pirates. All four of them are great baseball players. I’m coaching both the Rays and the Farm Pirates, which means I get the pleasure of watching my sons learn, grow, and become even better players.
Forgive me! A dad can’t help bragging about his boys!
Do you know what to do in case of an injury?
As a dad, baseball season means pride and fun. But as a dentist, baseball season sometimes means injuries to the mouth. It’s a safe sport, and things go well most of the time, but sooner or later, even the best player may well take a baseball to the face. In that moment, timely and appropriate treatment is crucial to maximize the chances of a successful outcome. As a parent, coach, or even a bystander, you could be the one whose knowledge results in the saving of a tooth.
If a tooth is knocked out, the first step is to keep the patient calm. Of course, it’s easy to freak out when a tooth has just been knocked out and there’s blood. Reassure the patient that everything will be okay. Find the tooth and pick it up by the enamel (do your best NOT to touch the root). If it’s dirty, rinse it off gently in clean running water, but DON’T scrub it as this will remove the ligaments that hold the tooth in place, making healing much more difficult.
Next, if this is a permanent tooth and if it’s possible to do so, gently place the tooth back into its socket, and have the patient gently bite on a washcloth or other similar item to keep it in place. (Make sure you’ve put the tooth back in the right direction!) If you can’t replace the tooth for any reason, place it in a glass of milk or in a container with the patient’s saliva (yes, you can ask them to spit in a cup a few times). If the patient is old enough, you can also have them hold it in their cheek if there’s no cup available. Whether you replaced the tooth or not, seek dental care as soon as possible!
If the tooth that was knocked out is a primary tooth (a “baby tooth”), these are generally not replanted back into the socket, to avoid any possible damage to the permanent tooth beneath. Still, collect the tooth and rinse it, then seek dental care as soon as possible. Even though the tooth will not be replanted, the dentist will need to evaluate the tooth socket, surrounding teeth, and other structures, to ensure that there wasn’t any other damage that may need treatment.
If just part of a tooth breaks off, do your best to find the piece (all of the pieces, if there’s more than one). Again, pick it up by the enamel, gently clean, and place in milk, saliva, or inside the patient’s cheek, then seek immediate dental care. It won’t always be possible to reattach the tooth piece, but sometimes this can be accomplished, so give it a chance by caring for the tooth properly.
What about pain control?
If your child has experienced a tooth injury, the area may be tender and sore for several days afterward. Pain control can help to keep the child comfortable while healing takes place. Of course, you should always seek your doctor’s or dentist’s advice before giving your child any medication. However, we’re providing the recommended dosages of over-the-counter pain medications here as a reference, so you can find them when you need them. This document from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry provides dosing information for common medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Aleve).
Please be sure that you pay attention to the maximum dosages of these medications and never exceed them. Overdosages can be dangerous; for instance, too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause permanent liver damage. These are safe medications if used in the correct amounts; just be aware that an over-the-counter medication can still cause harm if too much is taken.
How do I protect my child’s teeth?
Research has shown that the rate of dental injuries in baseball can be greatly decreased through the use of protective equipment, such as mouthguards, face shields in batters’ helmets, and safety baseballs and bases. Most baseball organizations, from Little Leagues to intercolleagiate athletics, are aware of this and are mandating the use of safety equipment; however, if you’re responsible for buying this equipment for your child, don’t skimp!
Don’t forget the fun!
Because I’m passionate about oral health, I wanted to share with you the best ways to care for trauma to the teeth in any situation, whether it’s sports or anything else, so that you’re prepared to deal with this situation if it arises. There are definitely injuries involved in any sport. But don’t let worrying about injury ruin your fun! Sports nurture so many great qualities in a child, including perseverance, teamwork, physical fitness, coordination, and more. If spring means baseball season in your house, like it does in mine, remember to keep the focus on the fun and the other great things that come from playing sports.