Common Kids Sports Injuries That Can Affect Your Smile

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
May 9, 2018

Two teenage girls playing high school lacrosse

Kids who enjoy playing sports are definitely doing something positive by staying active and growing strong. But did you know that they’re also putting themselves at risk of mouth injuries? It’s a bit scary, but it’s the truth.

As a parent, being aware of the most common kids sports injuries that could affect their smile is important. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to take steps to hopefully prevent injuries before they happen—or at least know what swift action to take in the event your little one does get hurt.

Below is a list of a few sports injuries that would require a dentist’s attention.

A Cracked, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth

If you’re like a lot of people, when you think of sports injuries that affect the look of your smile, you probably see the image of cracked teeth in your mind. And you’d be right to think that, as cracked, chipped, and fractured teeth are common injuries in the world of sports. These could occur when a player falls and hits their mouth, or when a player receives a blow to the face. Ouch!

Symptoms might include:

  • Cracks or splits in the tooth
  • A loss of a part of the enamel (this could expose the inner parts of the tooth)
  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Pain while drinking and eating cold or hot beverages and foods
  • Pain when biting down  

*Note #1: You may not notice a crack with the naked eye, and there may not be any pain, but a dentist will be able to pick up on the signs of a broken tooth.

*Note #2: A fracture could also occur in the root of a tooth, and you wouldn’t be able to see it. However, the crack might progress into the crown, or infection of the pulp might occur. Root canal treatment is often recommended.

In terms of treatment, your dentist will assess the damage of a cracked tooth in order to determine if it needs to be removed and replaced with a dental implant. Yep, the damage could be that extreme. Also, some teeth might require a root canal, while others might be repaired more easily with a bonding procedure, so the degree of damage could vary quite a bit. No matter what, getting treatment is imperative to restoring the health of your child’s tooth, so it’s best to head to the dentist ASAP.

A Tooth That’s Been Knocked Out

One of the most traumatizing sports injuries that a kid (or an adult) could endure is having a tooth completely knocked out. The good news, though, is that a tooth could be salvaged and placed back into its socket with immediate dental care. Phew!

A dentist could help put the tooth back in place, and it might function just like it used to. The key is to get to the dentist’s office immediately, as the sooner the tooth could be put into the socket, the better. The longer you wait to deliver first aid and get your child to a dentist, the lower the odds of success will be, so take action right away.

Tooth Intrusion vs. Tooth Extrusion

A couple of other injuries that might occur when your kid plays sports are tooth intrusion and tooth extrusion.

  • Tooth Intrusion: a tooth is pushed back into the socket, towards the jawbone, making this a serious injury. The tooth might be damaged, the pulp may be destroyed, and root resorption might occur. Treatment options include repositioning, splinting, surgery, and orthodontic procedures.  
  • Tooth Extrusion: a tooth ends up erupting partially from the socket, and it moves in the direction of the palate. A dentist may reposition the tooth and use a splint to move it into alignment. Because endodontic treatment might be required as well, monitoring the pulp is also a good idea.

Don’t Worry, There Are Ways to Protect Your Athletic Kids!

Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports is highly recommended because it could help protect against a variety of dental injuries. According to experts, if you don’t have a mouthguard in place, you’re a whopping 60 times more likely to suffer from serious dental damage. Whoa! So, even if your child fights you on it because they don’t like wearing a mouthguard, making it a rule that they have to wear it to play sports might put your mind at ease.

Mouth Injuries? Prompt Dental Care Is a Must!

All of these sports injuries should be treated promptly, so it’s best to take your son or daughter to the dentist as soon as possible. In addition to providing quick relief, the right care at the right time could also help prevent long-term issues and restore your kid’s beautiful smile.


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