If you are the parent of a child who has lost a tooth or multiple teeth while participating in a youth sport, you are not alone. Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injuries sustained during participation in sports. In fact, The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that more than three million teeth will be knocked out during youth sporting events in the United States this year.
The best defense against having a tooth knocked out while participating in sports is to wear the right equipment, including a properly fitting mouth guard. Properly fitting mouth guards are essential to wear when participating in contact sports including the following: football, boxing, martial arts, hockey and lacrosse. Athletes who participate in non-contact sports including basketball, baseball, biking, roller blading, soccer, wrestling, racquetball, skateboarding and surfing can also benefit from wearing mouth guards.
If your child does have a permanent tooth or teeth knocked out, it is very important to get him/her to an emergency department as soon as possible. The faster the tooth is back in the mouth the better the chances for its long term survival. However, if the tooth or teeth cannot be saved, you still have some options.
Patients who incur tooth loss at an early age do not have to face the rest of their lives wearing temporary tooth replacement solutions such as bridges or partial dentures. Once an oral surgeon has determined that their jaw has finished growing, your child may be a candidate for dental implants. Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth that provides for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like normal teeth. See an oral surgeon to find out if your child is a candidate for this procedure.