Dental injuries can occur in contact and collision sports. Do you know what steps to take if you break part of a tooth or have a tooth knocked out of place during a practice or game?
If a tooth is completely avulsed, or knocked completed out of its socket, then an athlete can put it in his cheek. This step keeps the tooth moist. Alternative options include placing the tooth in milk or saline. Then the athlete should seek treatment for the injury quickly.
If the tooth is not knocked out completely but instead is loose, or if part of the tooth is fractured, the athlete should keep the tooth in place.
If the athlete has a personal dentist, he should call that dentist’s office if he has a tooth knocked out. Even after business hours, the dentist usually has an oral surgeon on call. The oral surgeon can tell the athlete what facility to go to for care. If the athlete does not have a dentist, he can go to an emergency room. An emergency physician can then call an oral surgeon on call for that hospital.
Depending on the nature of the injury, the oral surgeon can treat it temporarily. If the tooth has subluxed partially out of position, the surgeon can often reduce it back it place. Treatment of a tooth fracture often depends on the nature of the fracture and the presence of any nerve injury. A complete tooth avulsion can occasionally be replanted within the first few hours after injury.