Show jumping is a great sport for people of all ages. Kids love to start jumping almost as soon as they can ride, and it’s something that no one wants to give up if they can avoid it. The thrill of speed, the power of the horse, and the unparalleled affinity between horse and rider make this sport truly unique.
But the sport is not unique in one thing: there’s a high risk of dental trauma. Unfortunately, the more one rides, the more likely it is that one will have an accident that damages the teeth and jaw. Wearing a mouthguard can reduce the risk of injury when riding, but few people do.
Fortunately, most injuries sustained can be repaired with modern reconstructive dentistry.
How Common Are Show Jumping Dental Injuries?
Show jumping has a high risk for dental injuries. The rider is moving at a very high speed, and they are relatively high off the ground. Plus, even the best horse can sometimes be unpredictable, especially under competition conditions where surprises are the norm. Riders can often be thrown from the horse, and this can lead to head, neck, and tooth injuries.
Despite the obvious risk, few studies have been done to show how often riders sustain dental trauma. It seems the only study of dental trauma in show jumping is a relatively recent one from last year. This study looked at show jumpers from three countries, interviewing 608 competitors. Of these competitors, 15% had been in an accident where they suffered tooth trauma. Twice as many had witnessed an accident with tooth-related injury.
Preventing Tooth Trauma
Unfortunately, few riders in this survey took steps to protect themselves from tooth trauma. Only three riders (0.5%) owned a mouthguard, although most knew about mouthguards.
The reasons for not wearing a mouthguard were mostly that their peers didn’t use them, although a significant number were also not sure that they would be helpful.
For almost any type of dental trauma, a mouthguard is going to be helpful in reducing injuries. You are less likely to chip a tooth or knock a tooth out.
You can’t count on experience and skill to prevent an injury. Studies of equestrian injuries generally show that people of all skill levels suffer accidents and injuries, and professional riders may be more likely to experience severe injury.
Professionally fitted mouthguards are best. They are the most durable mouthguards, provide the best protection, and are least likely to interfere if you like to use vocal commands when practicing with your horse.
Repairing Tooth Injuries
If you suffered tooth injuries during a show jumping accident, we can help. Most any type of tooth injury can be repaired.
Even a knocked out tooth can be restored. In many cases, it can even be put back in. If you knocked out a tooth, try to find it. Pick it up only by the crown, and don’t touch the root. Wash it only gently with water. If you can fit it back in place, do so. Otherwise, carry it in your mouth between cheek and gum or in a room temperature container of saliva or water. Rush to a dentist right away. But even if you can’t find the tooth or it can’t be saved, dental implants can be used to replace it.