Avoiding Dental Injuries This Summer

Cosmetic_DentistrySummer is coming in a little over a month. That means more hours of daylight, more free time and more opportunities to be active. Unfortunately, it can also mean more opportunities to injure your teeth. A preventative visit to your local cosmetic dentistry specialist can be a wise part of your shift to summer sports.

There are two main ways summer sports can damage the mouth. First, if you’re spending hours swimming at the pool, you can contract swimmer’s calculus, a condition in which the chemicals used to sanitize a pool end up adhering to your teeth like plaque. This condition is easily treated with a thorough cleaning at your dentist’s office.

The second, and more serious, risk for summer dental injuries comes from engaging in sports that require contact – such as soccer, football, or basketball – or that contain the risk of impact from falls or collisions, such as baseball, rollerblading, even bicycling.

The damage from sports injuries can range from slight to severe. Practitioners of cosmetic dentistry typically see the following types of sports-related tooth damage.

  • Chipped teeth: In this injury, only the outside enamel is disturbed. This is typically not an emergency situation, but it’s important to see your dentist to have the chip repaired in order to protect the tooth pulp and restore normal tooth contour.
  • Fractured teeth: This injury goes deeper and affects the dentin under the enamel and/or the tooth pulp. A fractured tooth may feel sensitive to cold foods. With fractures, get to your dentist quickly to avoid infection setting in or risking the death of the tooth pulp.
  • Tooth loss: Obviously, a tooth knocked from its roots in the mouth is in serious trouble. Get to a dentist immediately, preserving the knocked-out tooth in milk or water (if available) until he or she can attempt to re-implant it.

A major mouth-saver for athletes is getting a custom-fitted mouth guard. Dentists now recommend the use of a mouth guard for a wide array of sports, and the most effective kind is one that your dentist prepares for you, because it will conform exactly to the contours of your mouth.

“Keeping you safe in your summer activities also preserves your smile,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in Phoenix, “and that is what cosmetic dentistry is all about.”

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