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Athletic Mouthguard

For many adults and children who play contact sports, an athletic mouthguard is often overlooked. However, not wearing an athletic mouthguard can lead to damage to your smile and facial tissues.  Many people are unaware of the need for an athletic mouthguard, others just don’t think they are cool, and others might complain they are uncomfortable. For safety, every contact sport requires a well made athletic mouthguard. This will be essential to keeping your mouth and face protected.  Below you will find the most important reasons to wear an athletic mouthguard.

What Can An Athletic Mouthguard Do For Me?

-Protect Against Tooth Fractures. Trauma to the mouth will often lead to a fractured tooth. An athletic mouthguard can help prevent or decrease the severity of these types of injuries, preserving your smile. If a tooth does get fractured, below are a few of the possible outcomes…

1. Small, Superficial Fracture. If the fracture is small enough and stays away from the nerve of the tooth, your dentist can probably repair it with tooth bonding. Tooth bonding uses a tooth colored material to match your existing teeth and restore form and function.

2. Fracture Exposing The Nerve Of The Tooth. At this point to save the tooth, root canal therapy will be needed and then rebuilding the tooth with a full coverage crown.

3. Fracture All The Way Down To The Root Of The Tooth. A fracture this large usually leaves only one option and that is a tooth extraction. Then to replace the tooth will invlolve placement of a dental implant, a fixed dental bridge, or a removable denture.

-Protect Against Teeth Displacement. One of the main functions of an athletic mouthguard is to cushion any trauma that occurs around your teeth area. If you are hit in the face by a baseball when not wearing an athletic mouthguard, the tooth may not fracture but it could loosen your tooth and make it mobile or even fall out. A dentist may need to splint your teeth together to allow the tooth to heal on its own. Proper treatment should help lessen the chances of  permanent loss of the affected tooth.

-Protect Against Knocking A Tooth Out. Blunt force trauma can literally knock a tooth out of its socket. This is called an avulsed tooth. Fortunately, if cared for properly and placed back in as soon as possible there is a chance of the tooth being saved. An athletic mouthguard decreases the chance of  this from even happening.

-Possibly Protect Against Concussions. These types of injuries are all over the news of late with big time sports stars lives irrevocably damaged due to multiple concussions. Recent research has shown that wearing a well fitting athletic mouthguard may possibly lower the possibility of concussions. The athletic mouthguard acts as a cushion to lessen the force placed on the brain from contact sports. More research is needed for definitive proof.

-Protect The Lips, Tongue, and Cheeks. When undergoing trauma, we have a tendency to bite down. Without an athletic mouthguard in place, we tend to bite down on the soft tissues in and around the mouth. Athletic Mouthguards can keep you from damaging those softer tissues while enjoying your favorite activities.

-Protect Against Fractures Of The Jaw. Again, when undergoing trauma the force can be lessened by the cushion of the athletic mouthguard. Without that padding the force can break your jaw into pieces. A jaw fracture usually requires extensive surgery to repair.

Athletic Mouthguard Conclusion

A custom made athletic mouthguard costs more than a store bought one. The benefits of a custom athletic mouthguard are numerous. A poor fitting athletic guard may be a risk not worth taking.  Once a tooth is gone it is gone, concussion trauma causes long term issues, and jaw fractues are a huge concern. Why take the risk of damaging your beautiful smile? Or even your quality of life?



Most kids tend to have accidents that cause some sort of injury while growing up. The injuries usually range from a scraped knee to a broken bone. Most of us don’t make it into adulthood without a scar, or chipped tooth. When a child falls and loses a tooth, what can be done?

Dentists generally refer to a tooth that has been knocked out as an avulsed tooth. The accidental loss of a tooth through trauma is considered a very serious dental emergency for a permanent tooth (occurs in about 10% of the population). When a primary tooth is avulsed, re-implantation is generally not successful. The remaining space is usually left open for the permanent tooth to arrive. When a permanent tooth is avulsed, if you act quickly enough, there is a chance the avulsed tooth can be saved and maintained for many years. Even the best techniques and intentions do not always lead to a successful outcome for an avulsed tooth.

The usual cause of an avulsed tooth is a  force sufficient to break the bond between the tooth and the connection (periodontal ligament) to the bone. An avulsed tooth has no oxygen or blood flow and will die quickly if not re implanted. The primary goal of quick reimplementation is to maintain the periodontal ligament, so that the tooth is not rejected. The avulsed tooth will always need to be splinted to the other teeth, and usually, but not always, require a root canal. The speed in which the tooth is re implanted, the cleanliness of it, and how hydrated or wet it has been, all play key roles in whether or not re-implantation of the avulsed tooth will be successful.

My Child Lost A Tooth Too Early…What Now?

So what if the tooth is lost…..Can my child get dental implants?

Unfortunately, for children, the answer is no. Dental implants can only be placed after the bones of the jaw are finished growing. Dental implants placed during growth will impede jaw growth as well as proper movement of teeth into their natural places in the mouth.

The earliest recommended ages for dental implants  are as follows:

-Males – At least 17 years old.

-Females – At least 15 years old.

The determining factor for males and females is completion of growth. Females generally complete growth at an earlier age and thus can receive dental implants sooner to replace lost teeth.

Alternate Treatment Options To Dental Implants

Few children and most teenagers are going to want to replace their missing tooth as soon as possible. The options are quite limited and include the following:

-Flipper -This is a removable appliance that is able to fill the space of the missing tooth with an artificial tooth. This can create a cosmetic appearance that would be undetectable by others. It can appear very natural looking, but may affect speech and taste.

-Dental Bonding – While very rare, there are instances where a “fake” tooth can be bonded to a natural tooth.

-Braces (Orthodontics) – Sometimes the missing tooth space can be closed with braces, or a false tooth can be placed on an orthodontic wire while the bite is restored.

Conclusion

Accidents happen. Fortunately, most tooth loss is short-lived for a child, as permanent teeth will soon come in to replace the baby teeth. For many, the cosmetics are not much of an issue, and can be left alone to fill in naturally. For others, there are options to help with the space maintenance and cosmetics after tooth loss. No matter what, you should discuss options with your dentist. While some teeth may be replaced by permanent teeth in a few months, others may be several years. Choose what works best for you and your child. If a permanent tooth is lost, your child will most likely need replacement after growth has ended.  Once a child matures and completes growing, dental implants can replace the lost tooth and give a lifetime of smiles.

Avulsed Tooth is the complete displacement of a tooth from its socket in alveolar bone from trauma.

Dentists generally refer to a tooth that has been knocked out as an avulsed tooth. The accidental loss of a tooth through trauma ( avulsed tooth ) is considered a very serious dental emergency for a permanent tooth (occurs in about 1/10th of the population). For an avulsed primary tooth re-implantation is generally not successful, and is usually left alone. For a permanent tooth if you act quickly enough there is a chance the avulsed tooth can be saved and maintained for many years. Even the best techniques and intentions do not always lead to a successful outcome for an avulsed tooth.

The usual cause of an avulsed tooth is a  force sufficient to break the bond between the tooth and the connection (periodontal ligament ) to the bone. An avulsed tooth has no oxygen or blood flow and will die quickly if not re implanted. The primary goal of quick reimplementation is to maintain the periodontal ligament, so that the tooth is not rejected. The avulsed tooth will always need to be splinted to the other teeth, and usually, but not always, require a root canal. The speed in which the tooth is re implanted, the cleanliness of it, and how hydrated or wet it has been all play key roles in whether or not re-implantation of the avulsed tooth will be successful.

Instructions for an Avulsed Tooth

If a tooth has avulsed due to trauma it must be re implanted in its socket within 60 minutes (or sooner if possible) of the accident for the best chance of a positive result (i.e. tooth remains in position). It is important to keep the root surface of the avulsed tooth moist. This is the reason for the need for speed when re implanting the tooth.

An avulsed tooth, whose structure is maintained without any major fracture, must be re-implanted in its socket within an hour after the accident for best chances for it to remain in position. The best option is to attempt re-implantation within the first few minutes at the site where the accident occurred. The avulsed tooth should be attempted to be cleaned and placed back into the socket ( hole in jaw ) by an adult. This can be either the person who lost his or her tooth or by an adult if a child has suffered the trauma. If the avulsed tooth goes back into its socket where it was originally then it would be considered to be a successful re-implantation.

smileIf the avulsed tooth is dirty, it is vitally important that it is cleaned, the best way is with the patient’s own saliva by putting it in their mouth. Once the avulsed tooth is cleaned in this manner the patient should spit out any blood and dirt in mouth. While spitting, you probably will remove the blood clot forming in the avulsed tooth socket. This will allow an easier re-implantation of the avulsed tooth into the socket. the tooth can also be rinsed with cold water or milk. When the avulsed tooth is as clean as you can get it, it should be placed back in the socket as soon as possible. The quicker it is done, the better the chance for success. There are also “tooth saver” kits made to hold and keep the avulsed tooth wet for transport to a dentist.

If the avulsed tooth cannot be repositioned in its socket for any reason, then it should be brought to the dentist as soon as possible. There are a few ways to accomplish this:

1) The avulsed tooth should be rinsed and cleaned as explained above. The person who had the accident must then keep the avulsed tooth in their mouth. They should keep the avulsed tooth under the tongue or between the cheek and back teeth or lip and front teeth. If the trauma happened to a young child the previous advice should be disregarded as they can swallow the tooth. In such a case, the avulsed tooth should be rinsed and placed in milk, or in water with salt. Go to your dentist as soon as possible.

2) After cleaning with saliva, the avulsed tooth can be put in a solution of water and salt. A half a teaspoon of salt should be mixed in a cup of water. It is best to use bottled water if it is  available, but tap water can also be used in a pinch.

3) The avulsed tooth can also be placed in fresh room temperature milk. The patient and avulsed tooth in solution should be brought to the dentist as soon as possibleSave-a-tooth avulsed tooth kit

4) There is a commercial product available for the storage of an avulsed tooth. It is called Save-A-Tooth. This is a small container containing fluid to help preserve the avulsed tooth  for easy transport and re-implantation.

Exceptions to the Rule

The instructions above are recommended for adult teeth only. If a primary tooth (also called baby tooth) has avulsed following an accident, the re-implantation will not really work.

-If the adult avulsed tooth is broken or has visible fractures following the trauma, and or its root remained in the socket, the re-implantation will not be successful. This is because the tooth will not reattach to its root, and a fractured tooth will continue to break down.

Prognosis of Avulsed Tooth following Re-Implantation

It should be remembered that even if you follow all of these recommendations precisely, the tooth in question may eventually need to be extracted. If the instructions are followed correctly, chances are better that the tooth may remain in position.  An immediate splinting to the other teeth is optimal to take stress off the tooth and allow for healing. It may eventually need root canal treatment and possibly a crown to restore the avulsed tooth to its full form and function.

The re implanted  tooth can also seem to be fine for a few months or even a few years before it eventually becomes a problem.

At the Dentist Office

Putting the avulsed tooth back in its socket sometimes can be quite easy. And sometimes it can be very complicated, such as when the tooth or bone is fractured or broken. Your dentist may use water to flush debris from the socket. Then they will attempt to slide the avulsed tooth back into place. As mentioned earlier, it is most important to re implant the tooth as soon as possible. Ideally, this should occur within the hour of the accident.

The best course to take will depend upon how long the tooth was out of the mouth and amount of trauma. In either case, the dentist will splint the avulsed tooth to the teeth on either side with a soft wire and/or a resin material. This will be used to maintain the tooth in place for days-weeks.

If the bone around the tooth was not fractured, the root usually will reattach firmly to the bone in about three to four weeks. More extensive damage to the area may need 6-8 weeks of healing time.

Your dentist should examine the tooth again in three to six months to ensure the tooth is doing fine with no evidence of infection occurring. If there are no signs of infection, the next visit will be at your yearly dental examination. The dentist will then continue to monitor the tooth for the next 2-3 years to ensure that the tooth re implanted successfully.