When children are active, parents always dread the accidents that seem inevitable. When they do happen, knowing how to handle it can mean the difference between saving or losing your child’s tooth. Parents should always be prepared for any kind of emergency that can happen whether through a sports activity or simply by your child being their usual active self.
In order to be prepared, the WDA offers the following tips for how to handle some common dental emergencies:
It also is wise to know ahead of time what arrangements your child’s dentist has for handling emergencies that occur outside of office hours. Does the dentist have an answering service or paging service? Many dentists arrange for a colleague or a referral source to aid their patients when they themselves are unavailable.
Do you play football, basketball or mountain bike? How about skateboarding, soccer or volleyball? Maybe you do gymnastics or are part of a softball league. No matter what sport you’re involved in, there’s always a risk of injury.
A properly fitted mouthguard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear. Many experts recommend that everyone – from children to adults – wear a mouthguard during any recreational activity that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth.
A mouth protector generally covers only the upper teeth. Some athletes, though, like those who wear braces or those with a protruding jaw may need a protector for the lower teeth, too.
A properly fitted mouth protector will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breathe. There are three types of mouth protectors:
Stock mouth protectors are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. You can buy one at most sporting goods stores, pop it in your mouth and hit the field. Unfortunately, they don’t always fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking to your teammates difficult.
Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at most sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. To make sure you get a proper fit, you may want to ask your dentist to help you.
Your dentist makes custom-fitted mouth protectors. They cost more than the other versions, but because they are custom-made, they offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf. Athletes who have braces, dental implants or fixed bridgework especially should consider custom-fitted mouth protectors.
Caring for mouthguards
Clean with a toothbrush and antibacterial hand soap after each use.