As facial trauma specialists, we see a lot of injuries to the head and mouth that could have been prevented with the proper protective gear. April is National Facial Protection Month, the perfect time for us to remind you that wearing a mouth guard, helmet, vision protection, and other gear is crucial during outdoor sports and other activities.
When to Wear a Mouth Guard & Other Protective Gear
According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, 80% of traumatic, sports-related dental injuries in kids occur to the two front teeth. This damage can be lessened or even prevented if athletes simply wear a mouth guard.
Any time you or your child plays sports, whether at practice, the big game, or around the yard, a mouth guard should be worn. Some activities you should wear a mouth guard for include:
During contact sports like football, lacrosse, and rugby, you should also wear a helmet. Your eyes are susceptible to damage as well. In sports where balls, pucks, or other equipment could fly toward your face, consider wearing protective eye gear or a face shield.
What to Do if You Get Hurt
If you or your child isn’t wearing a mouth guard and gets hurt, the American Association of Orthodontics has several useful tips about what to do.
If one or more teeth are broken, clean the injured area and place an ice pack on your lip or gum. Cover the exposed area with sterile gauze and save the tip of the tooth. There is a chance it can be reattached. Store the tooth in clean water. As soon as possible, call your dentist.
If your tooth becomes loose, apply an ice pack to the injured area and call your dentist immediately. You can gently try to push the tooth back into the socket.
If a permanent tooth is knocked out, you must act quickly. Call your dentist immediately and then locate the tooth. Holding it by the crown, remove large pieces of debris, but do not rub our touch the root. Rinse, but don’t scrub, the tooth and try to put it back into the socket, holding it in place with gauze or your finger until your dentist can see you.
If you appear to have a jaw injury, apply ice to control any swelling and seek medical attention.
Athens Oral Surgery Center treats injuries to the gums, skin, bone, and teeth. For more information, contact us at 706-594-5033.