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Dental Implants and HOckey Players

My son is a hockey player. Most of his teammates have lost teeth but he’d been lucky up until last month when he had a tooth knocked out. We’d arranged for him to get a dental implant and have already had the implant placed. Now his teammates are telling him a dental implant is a bad idea in case he gets hit in the same place again. So, what should we do? I don’t want to leave him with a gap there.

Elle

Dear Elle,

hockey player with a tooth knocked out

That is interesting hearing what his teammates have said, but it makes sense. Your tooth has give. A dental implant is bonded. If the implant crown was knocked out, it would take some to the bone and possibly some jaw with it. That would require reconstructive surgery.

My suggestion is you leave that implant in. It will be good for his bone retention. However, you do not want to have the crown bonded on until he is done playing hockey.

Instead, I will suggest that he gets a temporary tooth replacement, such as a removable partial denture or a dental flipper. Either of these will give him a tooth while keeping him from damage to his jaw.

If he loses other teeth, I’d follow the same porcedure. Get the implant, use a temporary tooth replacement. Don’t just get the flipper without the implant.

When teeth are lost, your body recognizes that and in an effort to be as efficient as possible with its resources will begin to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere in your body. This causes the jawbone to slowly shrink. People who wear dentures end up with facial collapse as a result.

Dental implants are how you prevent that. The implant serves as a prosthetic root and signals to your body that you have a tooth there and it leaves your bone intact.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.