Whether a professional player or a hobbyist, hockey is a full-contact sport that can cause many medical and dental issues. From broken limbs and bruised ribs to damage to your teeth, it is easy to see the challenges involved with this exciting sport. While you may seek treatment for the broken bones and bruises, you may not be placing enough emphasis on your dental health. Considering knocked-out teeth are common occurrences in a hockey match, knowing what to do immediately after the accident happens is smart. Using this guide on safe storage and handling, your dentist may be able to save a missing tooth after your hockey match.
After your tooth is knocked-out, it can be difficult to find. However, once you locate and grab it, proper handling is key to ensuring it remains safe and healthy.
Since you are most likely finishing up a game, washing your hands can be a challenge before handling the tooth. Be sure to grab the crown only, which is the white end of your tooth. Avoid touching any part of the root.
To increase your chances of reimplanting the tooth, time is of the essence. Finish up your game and head to your dentist.
Your hockey bag or pocket are not safe places to store and carry your tooth to the dentist. Not only could you misplace the tooth, but you are also increasing the risk of bacteria growth. Consider the following:
- Tooth Socket – Placing the tooth back into its original tooth socket is the most effective way of keeping it safe. Rinse the tooth with milk or saline before inserting it back into the socket. Cover the tooth with a piece of gauze or a clean handkerchief and then bite down gently. This will secure the tooth in place while you head to the dentist.
- Cheek – If you are unable to place the tooth back in its socket, create a safe pocket using the inside of your cheek. Place the dislodged tooth in between your cheek and gum. This moist pocket is a safe, secure place to store your tooth until your appointment.
- Container – Use a clean container with lid to store your tooth. Fill the container with milk or a small amount of your saliva and place the tooth in. Be sure to secure the lid.
It is important to note that tap water is not safe for your lost tooth. Due to the various chemicals and toxins in traditional tap water, damage to the root may occur. Only use milk, saliva, or a saline solution to rinse and store your dislodged tooth.
If possible, visit your dentist within 30 minutes after your injury for the best chances of a successful reimplantation. After numbing the gums, your dentist will reimplant the lost tooth by stabilizing it to adjacent teeth.
Reimplantation is not a painful procedure, but you may feel slight discomfort from the pressure. In some cases, your dentist will perform a root canal to prevent an infection from developing in the tooth socket and root.
Unfortunately, the puck may not have stopped in time and you chose to continue your hockey game. If your dentist was unable to reimplant the dislodged tooth, there are replacement options.
If you do not prefer the infamous gaps in the smiles of hockey players, consider the following options to replace missing teeth:
- Dentures – A customized partial or full set of dentures is a good option for replacing one or more missing teeth. Easily removed and comfortable to wear, it is a smart choice for hockey or other sport's players.
- Implants – For a permanent replacement, consider dental implants. Implants offer a realistic, comfortable replacement, but do involve a surgical procedure for implanting.
After your hockey injury, it is important to stop the puck and get to your dentist for effective reimplantation, more information, or treatment. Using this guide, you can safely handle and store your dislodged tooth and prevent the dreaded hockey gap when smiling.