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How to Prevent a Tooth Root Fracture During Sports Activities

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

While contact sports can be very fulfilling for many reasons, imagine how you would feel if you suddenly lost one or several of your teeth. This could affect your life in many ways, including talking, eating, or smiling. Sometimes teeth can get chipped or broken because of a sport-related injury, but other times, cracks begin all the way down in the root of your tooth. In some cases, your tooth might need to be extracted. Find out how to treat a root fracture, and more importantly, learn how to prevent one in the first place and keep your teeth safe during sports practice.

What Are Tooth Root Fractures?

According to a Dental Traumatology report, root fractures are the fracture of a tooth involving the dentin, the cementum, and the pulp. They can occur in any direction but are usually classified as vertical fractures or horizontal (or transverse) root fractures.

Vertical Root Fracture

These root fractures begin in the root of the tooth and then extend towards the chewing surface or crown. Since they show minimal symptoms at first, you may only discover them after the surrounding bone and gum has become infected. So you must see a dental professional any time your mouth has experienced any impact. A dentist will most likely recommend an X-ray to see if you have a vertical root fracture since they’re typically not visible to the naked eye.

In case you have a vertical root fracture, treatment may include tooth extraction. In some cases, if the tooth can be saved, your dentist or endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery.

Horizontal Root Fracture

A sports-related impact could also cause a horizontal root fracture. According to the American Association of Endodontists, if you have a horizontal root fracture, the closer the fracture is to the root tip, the greater are the chances for your teeth to strengthen and recover over time. Fractures closer to the gumline can weaken your teeth more, and you may require stabilization with the aid of a splint while the tooth heals.

How to Keep Your Teeth Safe During Sports

Mouthguards are the best way to protect your teeth and mouth and prevent root fractures. They cover the upper teeth but are also a great way to protect the soft tissues of your cheeks, tongue, and lips. That means they provide a cushion to any blows your face or teeth may experience, preventing broken teeth, as well as any injuries to your lips, tongue, or jaw.

Mouthguards are an excellent option for anyone engaging in contact sports like boxing or rugby, or even non-contact sports like gymnastics and skating.

Choosing a Mouthguard for You

Custom-fit mouthguards are the best kind of mouthguards available. However, this is an expensive option. An alternative is to get boil-and-bite mouthguards from the drugstore. They are first softened in boiling water, and then on biting down on them, they take the shape of your mouth. Stock mouthguards are also available, but they are pre-formed and are usually quite uncomfortable.

Caring for Your Mouthguard

Like your teeth, your mouthguard also needs to be taken care of and regularly cleaned. Here are some things to consider about your mouthguard:

  • Clean it before and after every use with toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Store it in a sturdy container that has vents to keep bacteria from growing.
  • Check for signs of wear and tear and replace it often.
  • Keep your mouthguard away from pets who might mistake it for a chew toy.
  • Bring it with you to your dentist during check-ups for evaluation.

While your favorite sport may keep you healthy and fulfilled, they can also injure your teeth. But the good news is that with the help of a good mouthguard, you can keep your teeth safe and prevent a tooth fracture. So don’t take any chances before engaging in any sport, and keep your valuable teeth protected at all costs!

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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