One of the best parts of summer in Anchorage is enjoying the long summer days and all the activities that come with good weather. One of the most popular summer activities is mountain biking and for a good reason. Some of the best bike trails in Anchorage are located right next to our dental office including Kincaid Park Trail and Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
Although mountain biking is a great hobby to get out and enjoy some of the wilderness that we have right around Anchorage, it can put you and your teeth at risk.
If you’re a regular mountain biker, you likely already know the risks. However, if you’re new, it’s helpful to understand the risks and how to avoid them. Your time mountain biking doesn’t have to end with chipped teeth if you just follow a few simple rules.
How to Handle Mountain Biking Accident Dental Trauma
Before we get into tips on how to avoid cracking or breaking your teeth when mountain biking in Anchorage, it’s important to know how to handle dental trauma in mountain biking accidents. Here is how you should handle different situations.
Breaking a Portion of Your Tooth
If you crash your mountain bike and end up breaking a portion of your tooth, it’s important to call our Anchorage dentist right away. In some cases, we can bond the fragment of the tooth back on. If there is a lot of blood coming from the middle of the tooth, a root canal or extraction might be necessary. The sooner you seek treatment though, the better. If you wait too long, your only option might be extraction.
Broken Tooth at Gum Line
When you break the tooth at the gum line and a fragment still remains inside the jaw, our best option might be extracting the remainder of the tooth and replacing it immediately with a dental implant. Contact a dentist immediately if you break your tooth at the gum line.
Loose Tooth But Not Broken or Displaced
If you crash and your tooth becomes slightly loose but it doesn’t move out of its original position and doesn’t hurt, wait a couple of weeks. It might tighten back up and be just fine. If you feel concerned or it’s not tightening back up, contact our Anchorage dental office.
If your tooth becomes displaced but not knocked out of the socket you need to call your dentist ASAP to have it put back and splinted. It can take a few weeks to settle and may require further repositioning and a root canal in some cases.
Completely Knocked Out Tooth
If you crash and completely knock out a tooth, the first thing you will want to do is find the tooth. Once you find it, carefully clean your tooth off with your own saliva (saliva will prevent it from drying out—water does not). Then, store the tooth in a container with saliva or milk and call your dentist immediately. Place pressure on the socket to stop the bleeding while on your way to our dental office. Dr. Skinner will attempt to replant and splint the tooth. The longer it takes to get to our office though, the less likely it will be successful.
For a cracked tooth, please contact our dental office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The crack might require a root canal or cause an infection if it’s not treated early.
4 Tips To Prevent Dental Injury From Mountain Biking in Anchorage
Now that you know what can happen to your teeth from mountain biking, use our tips to prevent injury.
1. Wear a Helmet
This should go without saying, but it doesn’t. Many people go mountain biking without helmets, and we see some of these people later in our office needing to get porcelain veneers for chipped teeth or even a dental implant for a knocked-out tooth.
A high-quality properly fitted and adjusted helmet will protect you from many head and tooth injuries. It’s important if you want to protect your teeth that you get a helmet that covers your entire face. We know that this might be less comfortable on the trail, but you’ll be thankful in the long run.
2. Know the Trail
You have to ride every trail for the first time sometime, but there’s no excuse for not knowing what to expect. There are many resources that can help you understand what the trail is like and what you can expect as you go down the trail. This goes beyond just knowing the rating of the trail, which is a helpful guide, but won’t tell you what to expect.
It’s also important to know the current conditions on the trail. If the trail is wet, muddy, or icy the ride will be very different–and maybe should be avoided altogether.
3. Know Your Skill Level
It’s also important to know how many trails you’re ready to take on. That way, you can match your skills precisely to the trails that you’re ready to take on. Build your skills up over time and take new challenges incrementally.
If you find that the trail is getting to be too much for you, go ahead and stop, get off your bike, and walk it for a while. Then, when you get to a more manageable part of the trail, you can get back on.
4. Get a Bike That’s Up to the Challenge
Mountain bikes are made for people of all skill levels. If you want to avoid accidents, you want to make sure that your bike is up to the challenge that you’re taking on. A basic bike from a chain will hold up to easy trails, but if you want to try some of the harder trails, it’s best to upgrade to a custom bike from a specialty shop.
Contact Us If You Experience a Mountain Biking Dental Injury
For help with dental injury related to mountain biking or other sports, please call (907) 349-0022 today for an appointment with an Anchorage restorative dentist at Excellence in Dentistry.