Whether you play football or basketball, playing contact sports of any kind comes with a number of risks. The impact that’s caused from various incidents that can occur when playing sports may result in your teeth being damaged. When the damage is too severe, dental implants may be necessary to ensure that you retain a beautiful and natural smile. If dental implants have already been placed in your mouth, it’s also important that these implants are protected when you play contact sports.
Types of Injuries That Can Occur to Teeth When Playing Contact Sports
There are a variety of oral injuries that are common when playing sports, which include:
- Cracked teeth
- Soft tissue injuries
- Tooth loss
- Fractured roots
Cracked teeth are particularly common among athletes who don’t wear a mouth guard while playing contact sports. While a crown can be placed over the tooth to provide protection for the damaged tooth, it’s also common for the entire tooth to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
You might also require a dental implant if one or more roots of your teeth have been fractured. When this occurs, it’s possible for the surrounding area to become infected, which is why it’s recommended that you have the tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant. These implants are also helpful for anyone who loses an entire tooth as the result of playing contact sports.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Implants For Those Playing Contact Sports
There are several advantages and disadvantages to having dental implants when you’re an athlete playing contact sports.
Advantages For The Contact Sports Athlete:
The primary benefits associated with dental implants include:
- Bone health – With dental implants, the tooth root will be replaced entirely, which lessens the possibility of bone loss
- Aesthetics – By replacing missing teeth with dental implants your smile will be fully restored.
- Practical advantages – As opposed to dentures, dental implants are fused directly to the jaw, which means that eating and speaking won’t be adversely affected
- Overall durability – Since implants are fused to the jaw bone, they are highly durable and should last for many years before potential replacements are needed
Disadvantages For The Contact Sports Athlete
The disadvantages of dental implants for those playing contact sports extend to:
- The process is lengthy – Once the dental implants have been fitted, it can take upwards of six months for them to completely fuse to the jawbone, which means no contact sports during this period.
- Extra procedures may be needed – If there isn’t enough bone in the affected area to support the dental implant, a bone graft may be necessary, which will add to the wait time for playing contact sports again.
Precautions You Should Take to Avoid Injury
If you’re currently playing contact sports while in middle school or high school, it’s important to understand that implants are typically not an option because of your age. In most cases, dental implants aren’t available unless the patient is at least 18 years old. In the event you are younger than 18 and are playing contact sports, it’s highly recommended you take precautions to avoid injuring your teeth. It’s estimated that taking the right precautions during contact sports has prevented approximately 200,000 tooth injuries per year.
There are several types of equipment that will help you protect your teeth against injury. For instance, you’ll definitely want to obtain a mouth guard, which is fitted to your teeth and designed to absorb the types of impact that occur when playing contact sports. While cheap and inexpensive mouth guards are available, it’s highly recommended that you have your mouth guard sculpted by a dentist for added protection. In addition to wearing a mouth guard, you should have a helmet with a face guard.
When you take preventive measures such as these, the chances of injuries to your teeth are greatly reduced. When an injury does occur, consider obtaining dental implants.
If you have recently lost one or more teeth as a result of playing contact sports, contact us today to schedule your first appointment. Here at Good Samaritan Dental Implant Institute, we make sure to provide all of our patients with dental solutions that fit their exact situations.