Regardless of the sport, dental injuries can happen to anyone that participates in sports at any level. My own personal experience is a good example of what can happen and what the consequences are when you don’t wear an athletic mouthguard.
While playing a pickup game of basketball I was elbowed in the mouth and had a front tooth completely knocked out. My initial reaction was disbelief. This was quickly followed by the panic of having my front tooth knocked out and having to deal with the injury. The following is a summary of the necessary treatment I needed following the accident.
First was an immediate trip to the dentist for an emergency visit to have the tooth placed back into my mouth and splinted for support. Two weeks later I had a second visit to the dentist for a root canal and a year later I had a crown placed on the tooth. After 7 years, the first crown required replacement. After an additional 15 years of cautiously using my front tooth for biting and avoiding certain foods, the root on my tooth fractured and the tooth had to be extracted. Once the tooth was extracted, an implant was placed and I wore a temporary partial commonly known as a “flipper”. I wore the flipper for over a year while the implant healed. Once healed, I was fitted with a porcelain crown to replace the tooth I had lost from this all too common and easily preventable sports related injury.
My injury resulted in 25 years of guarded function, multiple visits for dental treatment, a considerable amount of work time lost to keep my dental appointments and the emotional and financial cost of treatment. It also resulted in the permanent loss of a front tooth. This all could have been avoided had I been wearing an athletic mouthguard when I stepped on that basketball court.
Nobody plans on having a dental injury while participating in sports but injuries to the mouth and teeth are very common. Such injuries can even occur in non-contact sports. Oral injuries are among the easiest sports injuries to prevent or significantly reduce the risk of occurring. A properly fitted athletic mouthguard offers protection from injuries with a more comfortable fit.
Learn more about custom-fit athletic mouthguards, a service I am pleased to provide so that you won’t have to endure what I did when I lost a tooth playing basketball.
Donald R. Dexter, Jr., DMD offers custom-fit athletic mouthguards for patients in Eugene, Springfield and surrounding areas in Lane County, Oregon. Contact our office at (541) 485-6644 to set up an appointment for more information about athletic mouthguards.