Planning and Preparing for Dental Procedures: Your Questions Answered

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Planning and Preparing for Dental Procedures: Your Questions Answered

Making decisions about your smile can be confusing. Should you have a tooth pulled or get a root canal? Should you get adult braces or stick with a retainer? Should you use at-home whitening remedies or have your teeth professionally whitened? If questions like these are keeping you up at night, you've come to the right place. I used to stress out over routine dental procedures, and as a result, I did loads of research on everything dental-related. To help others, I'm using this blog as a place to collect, review and share what I've learned through the years. I hope you can use the information here to help you plan and prepare for your next dental appointment.

Love Basketball? Make Sure to Take Care of Your Teeth with a Mouth Guard!

If you enjoy playing basketball, you owe it to yourself to get informed about the best ways to take care of your teeth. According to this study basketball has the highest incidence of dental trauma out of any sport. The incidence rate of dental injuries in basketball is five times higher than the rate for football! This is all because mouth guards are not routinely worn in basketball.

Many people do not realize how exposed they are to dental injury when playing their beloved game. Scuffles around the net when vying for rebound balls are prime ways to receive nasty elbows to your mouth and have a tooth knocked out by accident. Even if you are not one of the unlucky ones to have a tooth knocked out, repeated blows to the mouth over time can cause dislodged teeth, which may require extensive dental procedures to correct. Basketball is a fast game, making accidents more likely to occur.  

The best course of action is to invest in a mouth guard. You might think they look a bit silly when you wear them, but having adequate protection for your teeth is vital.

Here are a couple of tips on how best to protect your pearly-whites with a mouth guard when playing basketball:

  • Wear a full mouth guard. Partial mouth guards typically protect only the upper teeth, leaving the lower teeth exposed. This is a comfort versus safety debate. Of the few people who wear a mouth guard when playing basketball, most pick a more comfortable partial guard. It is important to choose the option that gives full-mouth protection if you want to keep your teeth intact.
  • Consider buying a form-fitted mouth guard. These offer a combination of maximum protection and comfort. They are specifically tailored to fit your particular bite. If you are someone who likes to play basketball on a competitive basis, a form-fitted mouth guard is the best option. Getting one will involve a visit to your local dental clinic. Your dentist will take an impression of your bite and construct the guard from this impression. Getting a mouth guard fitted by your dentist is by far the safest option as a professional will know your dental history and, therefore, exactly how your mouth guard should be designed.
  • If you do not have the money for a custom-made guard, a boil-and-bite mouth guard is a decent option. They are made from thermoplastic material and are formed after being submerged in boiling water. After it is left to cool a bit, you bite down on the material to shape it to your teeth and mouth. 

The above tips will help to protect you. If you ever get a tooth knocked out when playing basketball, remember that it can be saved. You may think that it is a lost cause, but you'd be wrong. The general advice for saving a tooth that has been knocked out is this:

  • Wash the tooth with water.
  • Put the tooth back in your socket. If that is not possible you can even put it in a glass of milk as this helps the roots survive.
  • Get to an emergency dentist immediately.

Protecting your teeth with a mouth guard while playing basketball is one of the easiest ways to prevent injury, yet it is not strictly enforced. Take responsibility and ensure your teeth remain in tip-top condition so you can focus on your game without worry.