I know it sounds cliche, but my son had a tooth get knocked out while playing for his college hockey team. His tooth didn’t stand a chance when the puck hit him square in the mouth.
Anyway, we went to see an implant dentist and started the process. However, he has had some teammates tell him to hold off on the dental implant until he is done playing hockey. They said that since the risk of re-injury is possible, it’s probably better to wait until after college sports. At this point, the natural tooth has been removed and he has a plug in.
Do you know if there are any other options? They mentioned an Encore Bridge or a Maryland bridge as possibilities. He doesn’t want to have an ugly smile for his upcoming wedding. So, it would be nice to get something that looks nice, even if it isn’t a permanent solution to replace the missing tooth.
-Michael in Minnesota
Thank you for reaching out about your concerns. Even though I haven’t dealt with hesitation in placing dental implants in hockey players before, what your son’s teammates are saying is a valid concern. As you know, hockey injuries are common, especially when it comes to dentistry. It’s not a bad idea to hold off to avoid another trauma, especially since your son is a college athlete. It wouldn’t be pretty if the dental implant was ripped out after it was placed permanently. It could potentially mean a much more serious procedure, including the possibility of requiring bone grafting to keep the implant in place.
At this time, I wouldn’t anticipate any issues with getting the root fixture placed. But, holding off on placement of the porcelain crown is a good idea until he is done playing hockey. It is also understandable that he doesn’t want to have a gap in his smile for his upcoming wedding. An Encore bridge, Maryland bridge or any type of bridge is not a temporary solution. It wouldn’t be advised since it does require shaving down the surrounding teeth to prepare them to hold the false tooth in place to fill the gap. Since his other teeth sound like they are healthy, it wouldn’t be good to compromise them too. That would mean three teeth would be treated, when the dental implant takes care of only one.
It sounds like the best fit for your son to accommodate his situation is a removable dental flipper. This is more of a temporary solution and will get him through the wedding, as well as the remainder of his hockey career. It would be in his best interest to meet with a cosmetic dentist so it blends in naturally with the surrounding teeth. If it is done by an expert cosmetic dentist, no one will be able to tell he is missing a tooth.
Thank you for your question. Hopefully, this will help point you in the right direction. Congratulations on the wedding!
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.