Regular visits to your dentist and proper brushing and flossing are all necessary tasks to protect your smile. However, you may be participating in certain activities that directly affect your mouth, teeth, and gums. While hockey is a favorite sport across the globe, it can wreak havoc on your smile due to the ice skating, equipment, and rough contact between players. If you are part of the 1.64 million people who play organized hockey, you may suffer with bruises, busted bones, and broken teeth.
One or more broken teeth during the hockey season is overwhelming, but you do not need to quit the sport. Using this guide, you will understand what to do on the rink when you break a tooth and learn the best techniques to protect your smile while playing hockey.
After the Break
If you are in the middle of hockey match, leaving the rink to take care of your broken tooth may seem difficult, but it is important. If completely knocked out, bring the tooth to your dentist within 30 minutes for the highest chance of reinsertion. This will cause you to skip the remaining portion of the match, but it reduces your risk of having a toothless grin.
Handling your broken or dislodged tooth properly is key to preventing infections. Be sure your hands are clean before picking up the tooth or broken remnants. Avoid the root by grabbing the crown of the tooth only.
Store the broken pieces or knocked-out tooth in one of the following places:
- Mouth – If possible, place the broken tooth into your mouth to ensure it remains safe on your way to the dentist. Place the tooth inside your mouth, next to your cheek and gums. Be sure to tuck it in safely.
- Milk – You most likely will not have access to a container of milk at the hockey rink, but you can stop and purchase a small container on your way to the appointment. Pour a small amount into a plastic bag and place the broken tooth inside. Seal the bag before departing.
- Cloth – Wrap the broken tooth in a clean paper towel before storing in your pocket or bag.
After storing your tooth safely away, rinse your mouth with warm water. This rinses away blood and any broken pieces of tooth. Place a piece of gauze on the damaged tooth or socket and bite down gently to reduce bleeding.
At the Dentist
Your dentist may be able to reinsert your knocked-out tooth, but repairing a broken or chipped tooth requires a different type of treatment.
In many cases, bonding filler will cover the broken tooth, making it appear natural. If you break off a larger piece of your tooth, your dentist, like one at Maplewood Dental Associates, PA, will cover the tooth with a crown or cap. Of course, the most permanent option is to cover your smile with porcelain veneers. However, continuing to play hockey with porcelain veneers is risky since this cosmetic restoration is a high investment.
Preventing Dental Damage on the Ice
An estimated 13 to 39 percent of dental injuries occur while playing sports, but you do not have to get off the ice. Here are a few ways to prevent dental damage while on the rink:
- Mouth Guard – Wearing a mouth guard during practice and regular hockey matches is essential. Your dentist can customize a guard to your specific needs, ensuring a comfortable, protective fit.
- Head AND Face Protection – You most likely wear your helmet on the rink, but be sure your helmet is sized correctly. It should not be lose or move around on your head during contact. In addition, the helmet should not be overly tight, which may restrict your movement. Make sure your helmet offers face protection, as well.
Enjoying your favorite sport without the fear of losing a few teeth is possible. Using this guide, you will know what to do after breaking a tooth and learn simple tips to prevent damage to your smile.