Loved by people of all ages and genders, baseball is a favorite sport across the nation. While you may enjoy coaching games as a career or playing the game as a weekend hobby, hitting, catching, and just being on the field can put you at risk for a broken or knocked-out tooth. Wearing a mouth guard can prevent an estimated 200,000 mouth injuries among football players, so using one during a baseball game can also be beneficial. Unfortunately, skipping the mouth guard at the ballpark is common, which leads to many injuries to the mouth and teeth. Using this guide, you will know what to do after breaking or losing a tooth at the ballpark.
After the Injury
If you are hit in the mouth by a ball, bat, or player, you will most likely notice the damage to your tooth immediately. While you may not want to stop the game, getting to your dentist immediately is key to saving your tooth. Call your dentist immediately after breaking or losing your tooth and let them know you will be there as soon as possible. Your dentist has the highest chance of success for replantation within 30 minutes after your injury, so leaving the ballpark will be necessary.
Locate the broken or knocked-out tooth and handle it with care. Only handle the tooth by the crown, ensuring you do not touch the roots. Contact to the tooth's roots increases your risk of contamination and infections.
If possible, place the dislodged tooth back into its original socket inside your mouth. Bite down gently to hold the tooth in place. To store a broken piece of tooth, place it inside your cheek, close to your gums. This will keep the broken piece of your tooth moist and safe while you head to the dentist.
If you do not want to place the tooth back inside your mouth, wrap it in a clean cloth before placing it in your pocket.
Oral Hygiene and Pain Relief
If you are bleeding after your injury, head to the ballpark's bathroom or locker room. Rinse away blood and any broken remnants of your tooth with warm water. Soak a few paper towels in warm water and wring out the excess. Fold up a few of the damp towels into a square and place on the injured tooth and socket. Bite down gently to stop the bleeding.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be experiencing pain in and around your mouth and jaw. To alleviate this discomfort quickly, use ice from a team's cooler or the snack stand. Place a few cubes of ice into a plastic bag or folded paper towels. Adding a few cubes of ice to a Styrofoam cup will also work. Hold the ice pack against the side of the mouth nearest to the injured tooth.
Restoring your Smile
Your dentist will attempt a few options to restore your smile. If the tooth has been knocked out completely, the tooth will use a splint as an anchor to replant. If the dislodged tooth cannot be saved, a dental implant will be necessary to restore your smile.
To repair a chipped or broken tooth, your dentist will use on of the following options:
- Bonding – During a dental bonding, a layer of composite putty is applied over the tooth, molded, and polished. Dental bonding restores the chipped tooth to a natural look.
- Veneers – Porcelain veneers require a few appointments to create and install, but they are a durable and permanent option to cover your broken or chipped tooth.
- Crown – A dental crown or cap quickly covers a damaged tooth to prevent further damage and infections.
A broken or dislodged tooth does not have to ruin your time at the ballpark, but immediate attention is essential. Using this guide, you will understand what to do when one of these common mouth injuries occurs on the ball field.