Mountain biking is a great hobby to get out and enjoy some of the wilderness that we have right around Anchorage. But you can also put yourself–and your teeth–at risk.
But your day mountain biking doesn’t have to end with chipped teeth if you just follow a few simple rules.
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.
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.
Know Your Skill Level
It’s also important to know how much trail 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.
And 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 awhile. Then, when you get to a more manageable part of the trail, you can get back on.
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.
If You Do Hurt Your Teeth
But what if you do have an accident and suffer an injury to your teeth?
If you have one or more teeth knocked out, pick them up by the enamel–the visible part of the tooth–don’t touch the root. Wash the tooth off with water. Again, don’t touch the root. If possible, fit the tooth or teeth back into their sockets. Otherwise, you can hold the teeth in your mouth until you can get to a dentist. If you need to put them in a container, put them in milk or water.
For a cracked tooth, see our guide to cracked teeth for more information.
It’s often possible to save damaged and even knocked out teeth. Restorative dentistry can restore your beautiful smile whether or not the teeth can be saved.