What To Do If A Tooth Gets Knocked Out While Playing Sports

by | Jan 4, 2022 | Resources

Adults and children alike can suffer tooth injuries from sports. Research has shown that half of field hockey players have sustained at least one oral or face injury while playing the sport.. The main oral injuries sustained  from sports  include chipped, loosened, fractured, or knocked out teeth, broken jaws or soft tissue lacerations. For example, when players chase for the ball in soccer, they can throw their arms up, and their raised elbows can knock out another player’s teeth. A heavy blow to the jaw by a head clash can break jaws and damage teeth 

Can the tooth be saved if knocked out?

if you knock your tooth out, your tooth’s nerves, blood vessels, and supporting tissues are also damaged. Unfortunately, the nerves and blood vessels cannot be repaired, which is why the majority if not all knocked out adult  teeth will need a root canal.

You must get to the dentist as quickly as possible after a tooth is knocked out. The ligament that joins the bone to the tooth’s root can reform once the tooth is put back into place. The odds of saving a tooth are better the quicker you get the tooth back in the mouth and to a dentist.Here are some suggestions to improve the chances of saving the damaged tooth:

Keep  calm

Everyone needs to  remain as calm as possible so the injured person can be calm. A dentist can save the tooth or find a way to replace it if the tooth can`t be saved BUT the priority concern for a person who has a head trauma is to be checked for any possible injury to the brain or neck. It is far more critical to go to a hospital if necessary. 

Once it is confirmed that the athlete is otherwise uninjured, it is important to help them remain calm. They may have blood in their mouth, which should be spat out rather than swallowed. Let them rinse their mouth out with water or saline if needed.

Clean the tooth carefully

Find the tooth as quickly as possible. Keep the tooth in Hanks Balanced Salt Solution (found in many sporting club first aid kits these days), the patient’s own spit (get the patient to spit into the lid of a drink bottle etc) or if neither of those are available milk or saline, as doing so will help preserve the cells on the root of the tooth. These cells can regenerate to recreate the tooth and the bone socket bond. If the tooth dries out, the cells will die. Hold the tooth by its crown and not the root. Try not to touch the root as the cells may be damaged. If the tooth has visible dirt on it, gently rinse it off (never scrub the tooth) with Hanks solution of saline to clean it with.

Attempt to insert the tooth back into the socket.

Do not let the tooth root dry out, or the cells on the tooth surface will die. Gently place the tooth back into its socket. If you meet any resistance, do not push, or you may cause further damage  if there are fractures in the bone. Keep the tooth firm in place. Adults or older children can hold the tooth in place lightly. A younger child may need assistance. If you have some aluminium foil handy, you can mould this over the teeth to look like a mouthguard, creating a splint to help hold the teeth in place.

Visit your dentist as quickly as possible

Get the patient to a dentist as soon as possible for treatment. Teeth re-implanted as soon as possible after being knocked out have the best chance of survival. Once the tooth is back in place it needs to be stabilised adequately by a dentist and will require multiple follow up visits and treatment over the months ahead for the best chance of long term survival.. 

What To Do To Prevent This From Happening?

Since tooth injury can be traumatising, we suggest you wear the following items to try prevent injuries:

  1. Mouthguards: Wearing a mouthguard is a great way to protect your teeth from injuries when playing very physical or contact sports.The best option is a custom fitted mouthguard made by your dentist or dental technician. Your dentist can give you the best options, including arranging to have a custom fitted mouthguard made. 
  2. Face cages: Protecting your teeth, mouth, and face from the trauma that occurs in sports such as hockey is a sensible way to protect yourself while enjoying the sports you love.
  3. Helmets & Headgear: These help you protect your head from any serious injuries such as concussions. They can also, depending on type help reduce the risk of jaw fracture. Though it may not directly protect you from tooth injury, it is still crucial for safety reasons and may help reduce the impact of an injury to the teeth.

What Are The Possible Treatments To Save The Tooth?

To save a knocked-out tooth, you will likely need to undergo a root canal treatment. This treatment is a procedure that replaces a tooth’s damaged or infected nerve (pulp) with a filling. The ‘pulp’ is sensitive tissue that provides oxygen, nutrients, and feeling to the tooth. 

The damaged pulp is removed from a tooth during a root canal treatment. The dentist then cleans and shapes the root canals with a drill and small files. Once the tooth’s interior is cleaned and filled, your dentist will seal up the tooth with a filling. . The dentist may also use a “crown” to protect the tooth depending on the damage sustained in the injury. The process also protects the tooth from further fracture. 

Act Quickly

If  you knock your tooth out, it’s essential to act fast and get the tooth back where it is supposed to be to give it the best chance of surviving long term. . At Beaches Dental we are here to help. We are dedicated to giving you the best experience possible with our professional team.. If you’re ready to explore your dental options, contact us today.