Can an Emergency Dentist Save a Tooth Hit by Baseball?
It’s splendid to see the baseball flying with great speed and velocity and scoring maximum runs in a match. But, when a baseball is thrown or hit hard, any player can be at risk of dental injury. These injuries are painful but avoidable. In most instances, the injured player may need immediate medical attention- help from an emergency dental. If ignored, the gums or teeth hit by baseball can become serious and cause further damage. Can an Emergency Dentist Save a Tooth Hit by Baseball? However, if the patient is brought to the emergency dentist without delay, the injured tooth may be saved or else restored by a fake tooth.
Most Common Baseball Injuries and Their Handling by an Emergency Dentist
1. Broken Or Knocked-Out (Avulsed) Tooth
A knocked-out tooth refers to a tooth that is fully forced out of its socket. When a tooth gets broken, no part of it is left inside the mouth. A gap is created in the smile, where the tooth was earlier present. Loss of a tooth by injury may cause bleeding and lead to an aching mouth. This is a dental emergency.
To save an adult tooth, the patient must carefully collect the broken tooth. The patient should retrieve the tooth by its crown- the visible part of the tooth. Then, rinse off the tooth’s root with running water and try re-inserting it in the empty socket, right away.
The broken tooth must have attached tissues intact. It must never be forced into its place. If an avulsed tooth is treated within 30 minutes to an hour, there is a chance to successfully save the tooth. In case the patient could not make up to an emergency dentist immediately, the avulsed tooth can be stored in milk or saline solution until the dentist takes care of it.
An emergency dentist helps by re-implanting the tooth in its socket. The tooth is stabilized by bonding it to the adjacent teeth using a splint. The splint is left undisturbed for 7-10 days.
At this time, the ligaments get time to heal. In case, the tooth is also fractured, the dentist may leave the splint for at least 6 weeks. However, if the tooth pulp is damaged, root canal treatment followed by a dental crown can help save the tooth.
If the lost tooth is not of an adult, it may not be an urgent situation. In that case, a spacer might be recommended to ensure that the underlying adult tooth gets enough space to erupt right.
2. Fractured Tooth
A fractured tooth refers to a tooth that has developed a crack in it. A tooth fracture can affect some or all of the tooth’s layers. The cracks can appear in different forms, depending upon which layer of the tooth is affected. These include:
- Craze lines- tiny cracks in the tooth’s enamel
- Fractured cusps- usually occur around a dental filling
- Vertical cracks extending into the gum line
- Split tooth- cracks that go beyond the gum line starting from the tooth’s surface and may separate the tooth into two segments
- Vertical root fracture- cracks that start below the gum line and travel upward.
Some fractured tooth do not cause symptoms at all while some show symptoms. The signs indicating a cracked tooth include:
- Pain that keeps coming and going
- Toothache while biting or chewing
- Swelling around the tooth
- Tooth’s sensitivity to changes in temperature or eating sugar-loaded foods.
To relieve the above-mentioned symptoms at home, the patient can:
- Place an ice pack on the outside of the mouth to alleviate swelling around the tooth.
- Use saltwater to rinse the mouth.
- Take NSAIDs to lessen swelling and pain.
A fractured tooth needs emergency dental care to avoid further deterioration. The treatment of a fractured tooth is decided based on the location and the severity of the fracture. Repair of the fractured tooth is a success only if it’s treated sooner by a dental professional. In that case, there is a better chance of saving the tooth. An endodontist may help treat some of the tooth fractures that involve issues with the pulp or the tooth’s root.
Common treatments for a fractured tooth include:
- Bonding- Small fractures are filled with cosmetic resins.
- Dental crown- A tooth-colored cap is placed over the fractured tooth.
- Cosmetic contouring- The edges of the fractured tooth are smoothed and polished.
- Veneer- If a front tooth is fractured, veneers are used. Veneers are wafer-thin shells attached to the front surface of the tooth.
- Root canal- This is done only when the tooth’s pulp gets injured.
- Tooth extraction- When the fractured tooth’s roots and nerves are severely damaged, the dentist cannot save the tooth. The only option is its complete removal and replacement with any dental restoration solution.
What if the Emergency Dentist is not Able to Save the Tooth Hit by a Baseball?
In that case, no need to get disappointed. There are several tooth replacement options available for missing/severely injured tooth or teeth. These include dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures.
The gold-standard solution is a dental implant. A dental implant is a titanium screw that is surgically installed into the jawbone to provide strong support to the artificial tooth. It mimics the natural adult teeth in their feel, form, and appearance.
How to Avoid Baseball-Related Dental Injuries?
The best and most basic preventive method is wearing a mouthguard for both practices and games. Mouthguards can help avoid the possibility of cracking, chipping, or breaking of teeth. It can cover the sharp teeth surfaces to reduce the chances of soft tissues damage. These include any damage to the lips, gums, inner cheeks, and tongue.
The mouthguard can even keep the jaw safe from any fractures and concussions. That’s because it can absorb the extra force or energy of a traumatic blow to the jaw/chin.
There are different types of mouthguards to choose from. These include:
- in-stock mouthguards: pre-formed and ready to wear:
- boil and bite mouthguards: pre-formed shaped mouthguards which can be customized after softening in boiling water
- customized mouthguards- personalized mouthguards designed by dentists which offer the best fit and protection
How Can Emergency Dentists at First Point Dental Help?
Those who wish to save their knocked-out or fractured tooth can visit First Point Dental, the best emergency dental clinic in Chicago, Illinois. It has reputed, highly-experienced emergency dentists to help repair their patient’s injured teeth. They can provide emergency dental care services exactly as per the patient’s needs and at the clinic emergency dentist save a tooth hit by baseball and other tooth injuries.