07 Jan Jonathan Cartu Announces: âA hurley broke and flew into a guy’s mouth. He had four
Last week, yours really wrote about NHL dentists. Blood, stitches, exposed nerves, tooth fragments: your basic evening on Saturday. But what about tooth loss in Irish sport?
“I played a game once,” said John Browne.
“There was a shock bullet and a hurley broke and flew into the mouth of a guy five yards away. He had four broken teeth and lost his position. ”
Browne was at the other end of the field, but he trotted out to offer professional advice:
I told him to put them in milk and I’ll see what I can do. But this is a big difference from the old days. The time for “ah, the tooth is gone, so what” is over.
“People will try to save their teeth and they know their teeth can be saved thanks to advances in dentistry.”
Howling winner from all over Ireland with Cork in his game days, Browne practices as a dentist in Belvedere Dental Care and the Citygate Specialist Dental Clinic: “I am an endodontist and much of what I do is root treatments , so I deal with a lot of dental injuries in sports. I see a lot of it because I get references from dentists with this kind of case. “
Browne’s reference to a time when a missing tooth – or teeth – was the price of combat is notable. Go back a few decades and every post-match photo, be it Gaelic games, football, rugby, seemed to include a few players without the full complement of pearly whites.
Much of what was left was less than pearly and less than white, come to that.
“One of the most important things is how dentistry has evolved,” says Browne.
âBefore, if there was a problem, the tooth was extracted, but now the goal is to save the tooth if possible.
“Besides, there was a time when people didn’t have this level of interest in their teeth. If a tooth was damaged, it had just been removed. Disappeared. It’s different now too.
âPeople are comfortable having cosmetic work on their teeth, braces are very common and people of all ages wear them. If someone has a chipped tooth, it can be corrected and usually is. How many people do you see now with chipped teeth?
“Or take a situation where it may first appear that the teeth are not damaged but the nerve can be damaged, then you get people with a tooth that darkens over a period of time as the nerve dies .
“You would have seen many more people with teeth like this in the past, but with the attention that people are paying to their teeth now, it’s much rarer.”
This is the general picture. What made people keep their teeth in sport?
âIn sport alone, the adoption of rubber protections has made a huge difference in rugby, hockey, Gaelic football and other sports. They prevent problems.
âThe rubber shield has a damping effect: otherwise you have two hard surfaces which collide and something must give. It acts as a shock absorber.
âI once had a patient who put a sliotar in the side of the head and his jaws trembled on impact; he had no gum because he had a helmet with a face mask. But with the impact, he fractured his mandible and some teeth because he had no gum to absorb the shock.
My own thought would be that launchers should wear gum protection even with face masks, but I know the difficulties. I have two children myself and I cannot force them to wear rubber shields with their helmets.
“And part of the effect of the face mask is that before the guys could get their faces out of the swells that are flying around, which is natural, but now I think players are less afraid of the face mask – which in turn could lead to more injuries. “
For all this, Browne stresses that he cannot definitively declare that there are more fractured teeth in the throws: “It is difficult for me to say it because I receive references from other dentists of sportsmen suffering dental injuries.
“And because of that, my number would be skewed in terms of the types of injuries I see, but my feeling would be that these dental injuries are still quite common despite the face masks.”
Are athletes nervous patients? “Itâs pretty common. Some of them are guys you wouldnât expect to be like that – the athletes you know well are tough competitors – but they can be very nervous in the wheelchair.
âIt’s a phobia for some people, and a phobia is an irrational fear. Something you cannot explain. All you can do is make someone as comfortable as possible.
âAnesthetics are now so good, for example, that there is no reason to feel pain, even if they don’t work as quickly with some patients as others. But if the patient has gone to a dentist in the past and has felt pain, especially when he was a child, the phobia develops.
âIf a parent is worried and anxious because he is nervous, then it will be passed on to the child, of course.
“Every dentist’s strategy now is to make things comfortable for the kids in particular so they don’t have the kind of bad experience when they’re young that will stop them.”
Sometimes an injury is not the reason why the athlete ends up leaning back on the chair and saying “aah”.
“Diet is a problem,” says Browne.
“A lot of athletes eat a very healthy diet, of course, but the frequency with which they eat can be a problem.
“The amount of carbohydrates they take because they are told to snack regularly … every time you have a fruit, for example, that contains sugar and acid that will attack your teeth. clean teeth, floss and chew sugarless gum after each snack they will end up with cavities and erosion.
âEnergy drinks are also a problem. They are supposed to sip them throughout the day and these drinks are full of sugar. Because of all this, athletes must keep their teeth cleaner than others. “
Arsene Wenger had his players teeth checked when he took over Arsenal. A good shot, said Browne.
âYour gum health in particular is linked to cardiovascular disease, and you need to keep your gums as clean as possible. Many cardiovascular diseases are inflammatory, so the two (gums and cardiovascular) can be linked in the same way.
âAlso, if a player needs wisdom teeth removed, for example, he might be right two days later or it might take two weeks to recover. If this happens in the middle of the season, the player has excluded for a while, obviously, then the teams try to solve these problems during the off season. “
The season itself is challenging enough. Browne shows the best example of the new attitude to dental damage: âGo back to Seamus Callanan against Limerick in 2015 – you could see bits of teeth flying in the photo taken just as he collided with a Limerick player.
“But the next day, he was at a dentist in Cahir and had him sorted, which is the difference. It is the awareness that it can be done – it must be done immediately, but it can be done. “