Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective gear available. They can help prevent or minimize tooth and jaw injuries. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends mouth guards be worn any time the teeth could come into contact with a ball, a hard object, another player or the pavement. The recommendation applies to organized sports as well as leisure activities like bicycling.
If mouth guard is not worn and an injury occurs, follow these first aid tips.
- Clean the injury area and put an ice pack on the lip or gum.
- Cover any exposed area with sterile gauze.
- Save the tip of the tooth (for possible reattachment) and call your family or pediatric dentist right away.
- Store the tooth fragment in water.
An accident can cause a tooth to come loose from the socket, a tooth can be:
- Pushed into the socket (intruded)
- Knocked part way out of the socket (extruded)
- Pushed sideways, but still in the socket (luxated)
What to do if an accident occurs:
- Apply an ice pack to the injury.
- You may attempt to gently push an extruded tooth back into the socket.
- Call your family or pediatric dentist for immediate attention. Early stabilization is the best chance for the tooth to reattach itself.