Accidents happen all the time in everyday life. For those of us who play sports, they can be even more common. I know firsthand that a wrong turn on the tennis court or a funny landing playing basketball can leave an ankle or a knee in serious trouble.
The same is true of our mouths when it comes to playing sports. Whether we’re going too fast or too slow, we fall, we get hit by balls, sticks and elbows, and run into things and other people.
Unless it’s a sport like football, where facial protection is part of the equipment, the mouth and teeth can be tough to protect while we’re active. Despite the risks there are things we can do to protect ourselves while playing sports.
Sometimes these precautions aren’t enough. Teeth can be damaged or lost outright, leading to discolouration and unsightly gaps. In these cases dental implants and implant crowns can be excellent options for returning a smile to its former glory.
Chips, Disappearing Nerves and Root Fractures
Small or medium-sized chips are common sports injuries that are easy to restore with essential cosmetic dentistry techniques. See an example here. The heavy lifting comes with larger traumas like disappearing nerves, root fractures and larger infections caused by forceful impacts. When this happens extracting the damaged tooth (or teeth) is often the only option. But once you take out the tooth, the problem becomes: what next?
Making a Case for Dental Implants
In this case, our patient suffered a trauma to the front tooth that went back 20 years or so. Over time the tooth became infected (see the discolouration in Example A and Example B, particularly in Example B) and had to be removed.
To solve the problem we gave the patient three options:
1. Denture that is removable during meals and at night (similar to something a hockey player would wear);
2. Bridge with cosmetic crown that uses the adjacent teeth as pillars for supporting the replacement tooth
Dental Implants – What’s Involved
In this case the patient chose a dental implant topped by a cosmetic crown. Here’s how the process worked:
1. Extraction – After the tooth was removed we prepared the site for the implant. We had to allow three to four months for the site to heal before starting the next stage of the implant procedure. During this time the patient wore a temporary “flipper” (think of this as a tooth stuck onto the end of a retainer) to fill the space and keep his smile looking normal.
2. Implant Placement – After placing the implant in the patient’s jawbone we placed a temporary crown over top. This again helped to fill the space left by the missing tooth, and also helped with proper shaping of the gum tissue around the implant. As seen in Example C.
3. Healing and Final Crown Placement – Our patient wore his temporary crown for three months to allow the gums to heal. After this time a full ceramic e-max crown was affixed to the implant.
Matching The Implant To Your Teeth
With the tough stuff out of the way, the only thing left to do was match the implant’s colour to the rest of the patient’s teeth. Today’s dental technology often makes this more possible than ever before.
After proper healing, and matching the crown to the shape and colour of the patient’s remaining teeth, you can see the results in Example D. A wonderful crown that stands on its own, integrates nicely with the adjacent teeth and doesn’t need to be removed during meals or at bedtime.
Dental implants are an excellent way to solve problems resulting from tooth loss. We couched this article in terms of sports accidents, but there are all sorts of situations where cosmetic dentistry may be right for you. If you think you might benefit from a dental implant procedure, please call the office or speak to one of our staff members when you’re next in.