As spring weather heats up, so do a lot of outdoor sports like baseball or soccer. Unfortunately, the chances of sports-related injuries increase as well. Your child’s mouth in particular is a prime target for injury—and you need to be prepared.
First and foremost, players should wear a mouthguard during contact sports to reduce their risk of injury. Mouthguards can absorb much of the force generated during impact—and may make the difference between minor bruising and a fractured or knocked-out tooth.
“Boil and bite” mouthguards available from the local pharmacy or sporting goods store are popular because of their cost and availability. These are softened in hot water before the wearer bites down to create a semi-customized fit. An even better option, though, is a custom mouthguard that is made from a precise impression of your child’s teeth that we take in our office. This type of mouthguard costs more, but it provides greater protection and comfort than one from your corner store.
A mouthguard can significantly reduce the risk of injury but won’t eliminate it entirely. If a dental injury does occur, you need to know what to do. This will depend mainly on the type of injury: If the tooth is chipped but not pushed out of position, you can collect any tooth fragments and see us within 12 hours for an examination and possible repairs. If the tooth has moved or is loose, you should see us even sooner—within 6 hours so we can readjust the tooth and, if needed, splint it until it is securely reattached.
A more serious injury is a tooth that has been knocked completely out of its socket. It can often be saved, but you’ll need to act quickly—optimally, within 5 minutes—by reinserting the tooth in its socket. Although it sounds daunting, it’s really a matter of a few simple steps: First, find the tooth and rinse off any debris with clean water. Holding it by the crown (the visible part you are used to seeing) insert the root end into the empty socket. If your placement isn’t “just right,” don’t worry; we can adjust it later, but it will require some pressure to place it in the socket. Have the person bite down on a piece of gauze or clean cloth to hold the tooth in place. Call us immediately. If you cannot reach us, go to an emergency room.
Quick action and prompt follow-up dental care after a mouth injury increase the chance of a happy outcome. Along with proper mouthguard protection, remembering these pointers will help ensure that your family has an enjoyable sports season this year!
If you would like more information about sports-related dental injuries, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Athletic Mouthguards” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”
Are you throwing away money? It sounds silly when we ask that question, but if you have dental benefits and aren’t using them, that is EXACTLY what you are doing. Employers are taking money out of your paycheck to pay for your dental insurance—or in some cases you might be paying for your own.
Most plans cover at least one, possibly two, teeth cleanings and exams a year—often with no out of pocket cost to you. If you’re not taking advantage of that, any money you’re paying for the insurance is just being wasted. (And here’s a secret—often keeping up with your preventive care, such as this, means that you will have fewer big ticket dental items that you need to have done! So it will save you money in the long run.)
If you had your first cleaning late in the year (July or after) and are allowed two per year (not one every 6 months), you might be able to schedule another one before the end of the year to maximize your dental benefits.
If you’ve already paid your deductible (the dollars you have to pay before your insurance coverage kicks in) and have other dental care that you need to do, try to do it before you benefit period ends. Once the period renews (often on January 1!), your deductible starts over again too. Waiting for the new year could mean that you are throwing away the amount of your dental deductible.
Many insurances choose to pay for your crown, bridge, partial or denture when it is yours to wear home. So if you are hoping to get that appliance on this year’s insurance benefits, you need to schedule before December. Removable appliances such as partials or dentures can take two to three months to complete (meaning you'd have to schedule to start in October). Crowns and bridges are typically 3 to 4 weeks so schedule in November or early December.
If you are paying for your own dental insurance, it may be wise to look at how much you are paying and how much you are getting in return. There have been a few cases where people were paying quite a bit for minimal dental coverage. In some cases it might be wiser to find a different plan and in others it might be wiser to join our in-office plan for your cleaning appointments and bank the rest of what you'd be paying for the insurance coverage so that you have it if and when you need a more extensive dental procedure.
Hope you’ve enjoyed these tips to get the most out of your dental insurance. If you have questions on how to best use your dental insurance at Dr. Robb’s office, we’d be glad to assist. Call 440-960-1940.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees patients of all ages at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. www.drjrobb.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb (Hint: If we do run specials, many times they are announced on Facebook, so follow Dr. Robb’s page now!)
Seeking Front Desk Person with some Assisting Duties. Primary responsibilities will be Dental Front Desk but there may be times when dental x-rays need to be taken or chairside dental assisting duties. Experience with Eaglesoft preferred but not required. Current Dental Radiography Certificate preferred (if candidate does not have, they must be willing to obtain). Workdays are Monday-Thursday with occasional other times needed. Hours are posted on our webpage; however, in dentistry, we cannot guarantee you will get out right on time every day--the workday ends when the last patient is checked out and duties are finished. Resumes can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 440-960-1941.
Whether she’s singing, dancing or acting, Jennifer Lopez is a performer who is known for giving it all she’s got. But during one show, Lopez recently admitted, she gave a bit more then she had planned.
“I chipped my tooth on stage,” she told interviewers from Entertainment Tonight, “and had to finish the show….I went back thinking ‘Can I finish the show like this?’”
With that unlucky break, J-Lo joins a growing list of superstar singers—including Taylor Swift and Michael Buble—who have something in common: All have chipped their teeth on microphones while giving a performance.
But it’s not just celebs who have accidental dental trouble. Chips are among the most common dental injuries—and the front teeth, due to their position, are particularly susceptible. Unfortunately, they are also the most visible. But there are also a number of good ways to repair chipped, cracked or broken teeth short of replacing them.
For minor to moderate chips, cosmetic bonding might be recommended. In this method, special high-tech resins, in shades that match your natural teeth, are applied to the tooth’s surface. Layers of resin, cured with a special light, will often restore the tooth to good appearance. Best of all, the whole process can often be done in just one visit to the dental office, and the results can last for several years.
For a more permanent repair—or if the damage is more extensive—dental veneers may be another option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that cover the entire front surface of one or more teeth. Strong, durable and natural-looking, they can be used to repair moderate chips, cracks or irregularities. They can also help you get a “red-carpet” smile: brilliant white teeth with perfectly even spacing. That’s why veneers are so popular among Hollywood celebs—even those who haven’t chipped their teeth!
Fortunately, even if the tooth is extensively damaged, it’s usually possible to restore it with a crown (cap), a bridge—or a dental implant, today’s gold standard for whole-tooth replacement. But in many cases, a less complex type of restoration will do the trick.
Which tooth restoration method did J-Lo choose? She didn’t say—but luckily for her adoring fans, after the microphone mishap she went right back up on stage and finished the show.
If you have a chipped tooth but you need to make the show go on, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
I just finished Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of America's Imagination by Brian Jones. I remember reading Dr. Seuss books when younger and while parts of this book, such as finding out that Mr. Geisel struggled with writing his books, were inspiring, there were other parts, such as finding out he was a chain smoker and that he may have had an affair with a married woman, that were a bit disappointing as well.
So what does Dr. Seuss have to do with dentistry? Well, in early 1983, at what was supposed to be a routine dental appointment, Mr. Geisel/Dr. Seuss learned he had a small cancerous lesion at the base of his tongue--a cancer that was attributed to his many years of smoking. From 1983 until his death in 1991, Geisel dealt with the cancer, its treatment, and its side effects. He endured surgery, an iridium transplant at the base of his tongue (which caused problems with the circulation in his jaw--later causing jaw pain and loosening of teeth), and more surgery (a radical neck dissection and deep biopsy). From this experience came his book You're Only Old Once! When he needed a root canal, it developed into a major infection (possibly from the decreased circulation) which led to further deterioration of his jawbone. It even eventually affected his speech.
If you believe the book, Geisel was surprised to learn he had cancer. No symptoms were reported prior to his diagnosis. This is typical of many head and neck cancers--which is why the long-term survival rate for them is so low. They are often not discovered until they are in an advanced stage. Geisel sought out several medical opinions--always a good option--but he also rejected some of their recommendations, especially early on in his diagnosis--and that makes me wonder if the outcome might have differed if he'd followed their initial recommendation to have a more extensive surgery. We will never know.
You can learn more about Oral Cancer by clicking on those words to see an entry from the Dear Doctor educational library.
*Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children in her dental office located at
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
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