We all want our children to be able to interact with others, learn the importance of friendship and team-building, as well as to excel at something that is fun and worthwhile. For this reason, many children are encouraged to participate in youth sports, such as soccer, football, basketball, lacrosse, softball, and many others. Though sports are meant to be harmless, lesson-teaching, and – most importantly – fun; in some cases, they can become dangerous.

Rarely is there a season that passes where a youth athlete isn’t injured in some way. Injuries are usually a part of sports, and sometimes they simply cannot be prevented. Common injuries associated with youth sports include oral injuries: most commonly broken jaws and tooth loss. While injuries are usually the last thing on a parent or athlete’s mind, it’s important to know how to prevent and treat them.

The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation predicts that, in 2011 alone, over 3 million teeth will have been lost during youth sporting events. According to the organization, the most dangerous sports are baseball and basketball – a fact that may surprise some, since other sports such as soccer and football are higher-impact and higher-contact sports. However, when considering baseball and basketball, the players do not have any facial or oral protection as they do in football, where helmets and mouthpieces are worn for protection purposes.

To help protect your growing child’s teeth, many recommend buying a mouthguard or having a mouthpiece specially created that still allows the user to communicate, but – at the same time – the mouth, including the teeth, are protected from injury.

Taking Proper Care of A Broken Or Lost Tooth

While mouthguards can be worn to help better protect the teeth, gums, lips, and tongue; there are times when accidents happen, and before you know it, your child may be one of the 3 million who suffers from a lost tooth this year. The important part of taking care of a damaged tooth is ensuring that dental assistance is received within 24 hours of the injury occurring. If your child suffers from a broken or chipped tooth with no sign of bleeding, waiting 24 hours isn’t highly risky or dangerous.

On the other hand, if the tooth is completely separated from the mouth, dental care should be sought immediately – ideally within 30 minutes of the injury. This crucial window helps to increase the chances of successful re-implantation.

If for some reason medical or dental assistance isn’t possible within 30 minutes, to help preserve the tooth, either put it back into the mouth in its socket or place it in a glass of milk. When handling the tooth, do not touch the pulp or let it come into contact with water.

When a tooth is chipped, cracked or broken, seek Dr. Siegel’s help as soon as possible. With the help of Dr. Siegel, the tooth may be re-implanted, or some other dental treatment can be used to fill in the gap, such as a bridge, crown, or a dental implant. Don’t let an injured tooth go untreated. Contact Dr. Siegel’s office today.