Participating in athletics is very rewarding. However, it can come with some calculated risks. For patients with braces, taking extra precautions while playing sports will prevent dental injuries from occurring. Here are some common dental emergencies that can arise if safety procedures aren’t practiced.
TMJ Dislocation Dental Emergency
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) plays an essential role in allowing people to speak and eat. In fact, this joint is used more than any other joint in the body. The TMJ is located in the back of the jaw where the mandible attaches to the rest of the skull. If impacted at the right angle, the TMJ can become dislocated, inhibiting a patient’s ability to speak and eat and causing significant pain.
This problem can typically be fixed by a relatively short surgery under sedation, in which the joint is positioned back into place.
Lacerations in the Mouth
Patients wearing braces while playing sports are more susceptible to injuries inside the mouth, especially in impact sports like football, or sports like basketball where impacts to the face can occur.
Braces aren’t as rough as they used to be, but they still are pieces of metal that stick out from your teeth. While you should get used to them after a short amount of time, you certainly don’t want them being forcefully pushed against the inside of your mouth when playing sports. If you are subject to a facial impact, you could suffer lacerations to the gums, tongue, or lips.
There are a few scenarios that could lead to teeth cracking or chipping during athletic competition. If you get hit in the face with a football or soccer ball, you are usually fine other than a little discomfort or minor bruising. But if your teeth are in a certain position, the impact could cause chipping or cracking. Taking a hit from another player’s limb or falling on your face on a hard surface will put you at an even greater risk of getting chipped teeth.
In some cases, this may only be noticeable upon inspection by a dentist. In other cases, you may end up chipping a front tooth, which will result in a visible change in your smile. In either case, you may need a crown to prevent infections or further damage.
Another primary concern of having braces while playing sports is breaking the braces themselves. Taking part in athletics while in braces can put you at risk of breaking the wires or brackets as a result of a collision or impact of some sort. If this occurs, it’s crucial to make it into the orthodontist’s office right away to get your braces repaired.
Of course, it’s best to avoid these circumstances altogether. A great way to protect your teeth and your braces while participating in physical sports is to wear an orthodontic mouthguard. When you start your treatment, be sure to ask your orthodontist about this smile-saving piece of equipment.