Each year, people spend nearly $500,000,000 in the U.S. on medical care for dental avulsions. In dental terms, an avulsed tooth is a tooth that’s been knocked loose from its socket. Dental avulsion is one of many sports-related injuries that cause trauma to the face and teeth. If this happens to you, you have a dental emergency.
To prevent and prepare for sports-related dental emergencies takes some organization and planning. Here are some tips on avoiding mouth injuries, including dental avulsion.
Invest in Mouth Guards
Mouth guards are available in generic, universal versions and custom-made versions that precisely fit over teeth. Dentists also create a third type of mouth guard called a boil-and-bite model. They heat and then shape the mouth guard to fit inside the mouth.
- Mouth guards help protect athletes from:
- Lacerated lips and tongue
- Chipped teeth
- Fractured crowns and bridges
- Lacerated cheek
- Fractured jaw
Mouth guards don’t protect athletes from concussion, and they won’t completely protect the mouth and face from severe impacts. However, mouth guards do protect the teeth and jaw from many forms of hard sports contact.
Order two mouth guards and keep them sanitized. Bacteria, scratches, and rips in mouth guards can also cause dental injury and infection. Ask your dentist how to properly sanitize good mouth guards and when to replace worn mouth guards.
Use Your Judgment When Mouth Guards Aren’t Mandatory
In sports known to enforce mandatory mouth guard use, players have reduced dental injuries. However, many sporting associations and their officials don’t demand mouth guard use for their teams or individual sporting competitions.
Use your best judgment as a parent or a competitor when mouth guard use isn’t mandatory. While playing any contact sport, athletes must definitely wear a mouth guard. While engaging in any sport where you can make impact with another player, the ground, a ball, a wall, or any other object, a mouth guard is highly advised.
Wear mouth guards when competing in or practicing:
- Field Hockey
- Ice Hockey
The above list is far from complete but contains several sports that have the majority of mouth injuries. According to one dental journal, three times as many injuries to the mouth and jaw occur on basketball courts than on football fields. The difference is an enforcement of mouth guard use.
Include Tooth Trauma Supplies in First Aid Kits
If you run a sports team, you’re an adult team member, or you’re a team member’s parent, stock your first aid kit with supplies to save avulsed and traumatized teeth. Ask your dentist for a list of necessary items you should keep in the kit if you’re unsure about your specific sport or dental status.
To treat a knocked-out tooth, have:
- A bottle of normal saline
- Tooth saving kit
- Sterile gauze
When a tooth is avulsed, it has the best chance of reimplanting 5 to 10 minutes after leaving the socket. After an hour out in the air, the chance of reimplanting the tooth is slim.
Here are seven steps to follow after dental avulsion:
- Make sure the tooth or other object is not in the athlete’s airway.
- Use normal saline to lightly wash the athlete’s mouth where the trauma occurred.
- Be very gentle, and avoid touching any of the open socket.
- Pat away blood and normal saline using gauze and a light touch.
- Hold tooth by its crown and never by its root.
- Rinse debris off tooth.
- Replace tooth in socket by orienting to other teeth.
If the socket area is too traumatized to re-implant the tooth or the patient is not conscious, place the tooth in the tooth-saving kit, which includes a container you fill with a medium that keeps the tooth moist. Schedule an emergency dental exam and treatment immediately.
Schedule a fitting for custom mouth guards for all of your sporting endeavors this autumn and winter by contacting Vincent J. Picone, D.D.S.-PA. We offer dental guards and dental services for families and athletes in the North Bergen, New Jersey, region.
Restorations like crowns, bridges, partial dentures, and inlays can improve both the function and appearance of your teeth. If you’ve never had a restoration placed before, you may be a little nervous about the procedures involved. Talk with your dentist so that you are fully informed of the involved process.
When taking impressions for a restoration, one step you may undergo is gingival retraction. Read on for more information on what a gingival retraction is and what it entails.
What Is Gingival Retraction?
Before your dentist takes impressions of your teeth, they will wind a gingival retraction cord around the tooth or teeth that need prostheses. Retraction cords look a lot like floss and are made out of polyester or cotton.
Your dentist will need to wind the cord around a tooth so that it loosens up the gingival sulcus. The sulcus is the gum pocket between gingival tissue and the tooth.
As the cord sits in the sulcus, it actually loosens the gum tissue up so that the dentist has more enamel to access for the impression. If a dentist took impressions of your teeth without gingival retraction, then the dental laboratory would be working with an incomplete model of your teeth.
What Are the Basic Steps of the Procedure?
Each dentist office is different, but these are some basic steps you can expect during gingival retraction:
- Your dentist will clean and rinse the tooth. They will then dry the area and place cotton rolls around the site to reduce moisture.
- Your dentist will cut a piece of retraction cord and use cotton pliers to form a loose loop. If a deeper sulcus is required for your impressions, the dentist may need to use two pieces or cord.
- Your dentist will slip the cord loop around your tooth.
- Your dentist will use a cord packing instrument to gently pull the cord down into the gum pockets.
- The dentist will leave the cord in the gum pocket for a few minutes so that it can expand and deepen the sulcus. During this time, keep your tongue away from the area so that the area stays dry and the cord isn’t affected.
- When the gums have sufficiently loosened your dentist will grab the end of the cord, unwind it, and gently pull it out.
- The dentist or a dental assistant will use a special instrument to deliver the impression below the gum line and start pouring the needed impression.
- After the dentist removes the impression, they will place a temporary tooth.
If you have concerns about any of the steps in this procedure, ask your dentist to explain.
What Is a Vasoconstrictor Solution?
Before the dentist places the retraction cord around your tooth, they may dip it in water or a vasoconstrictor solution. The retraction cord can cause from gingival bleeding, and the vasoconstrictor solution reduces the bleeding. It’s harder for dentists to get an accurate impression if they are dealing with blood.
Although gingival retraction isn’t invasive like surgery, you let your dentist know if you are on anticlotting drugs or blood thinners. Even taking an aspirin can affect your blood’s ability to clot. These medications are good for preventing clots that can cause strokes, but they can increase the risk of bleeding during gingival retraction.
Let your dentist know about current medications so they can make a decision about whether or not they should use the vasoconstrictor solution during the procedure.
Does Gingival Retraction Hurt?
Your gum tissue may bleed a little and be a little swollen or sore, but this process shouldn’t be painful. The gums will heal and cause no long-term damage. But if you have a low pain threshold, you may want to ask about alternative methods since they may be more comfortable.
For instance, some dentists can inject a clay-like paste into the sulcus to loosen the gum tissue. A lot of these pastes contain aluminum chloride, which acts as a vasoconstrictor.
To learn more about gingival retraction or restorations, contact Vincent J. Picone D.D.S. for an appointment today.
Tips for Optimal Dental Health When You Have Diabetes
Diabetes can have an impact on all aspects of your personal health, including your oral health. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to tooth loss, gum disease, and severe infections. It’s important to be very proactive about your dental care habits. If you have diabetes, follow these tips to attain and maintain optimal dental health.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Under Control
If you have consistently high blood sugar, you are more vulnerable to gum disease. High blood sugar may also contribute to oral health conditions like thrush and dry mouth. Do what it takes to ensure that your blood sugar levels are stable. That means that you need to frequently check your blood sugar levels and act accordingly. If you have high blood sugar, you may need insulin.