Have you lost one or more teeth to a sports injury? Unfortunately, that’s a fairly common problem in athletes, especially those who participate in contact sports. Replacing missing teeth after a sports injury is something you’ll want to have done as soon as possible, since leaving a gap in your mouth can lead to dental problems, such as adjacent teeth shifting to fill the gap. Missing teeth can also make eating and speech difficult, and having a gap in your smile can be rather embarrassing. Among the replacement options you’ll likely be offered are dental implants, dental bridges and partial dentures.

Dental Implants

Most dental professionals consider dental implants the best available option for replacing missing teeth after a sports injury. The exception to that is children or teens, who generally aren’t fitted with implants until jaw growth is complete.

Implant-based dental restorations mimic the structure, function and appearance of natural teeth more closely than any other option, consisting of an artificial tooth root – the implant – topped with an abutment that holds a natural-looking crown. Since they, unlike other options, replace tooth roots, dental implants offer protection against the bone loss in the jaw – an inevitable side effect of lost tooth roots. Dental implants create restorations that are self-supporting – like a natural tooth – and they have an average lifespan of 25 years.

Implant-based restorations can be used to replace a single missing tooth or several, and once restoration is complete, your replacement teeth will look, feel and function just like your own. The only care they’ll need is brushing, flossing and dental checkups, just like natural teeth.

Dental Bridges

If you’re one of the few people who aren’t candidates for dental implants, a fixed bridge is an option to consider for replacing mossing teeth after a sports injury. Typically, these consist of one or more artificial teeth placed between two crowns, which are fitted onto adjacent natural teeth to hold the bridge firmly in place. Bridges will last, on average, about seven to ten years. Care of a fixed dental bridge consists of normal tooth brushing and flossing under and around the appliance.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures generally consist of artificial teeth set into a gum-colored acrylic base, and are held in place by clasps that fit onto adjacent natural teeth. These are removable dental appliances that are taken out for cleaning and sleeping. Daily care of partial dentures includes brushing the denture after meals, soaking it in denture cleaning solution as needed and annual appointments with your dentist to have it checked for proper fit and condition. Partial dentures will need to be relined or replaced periodically – typically every five to ten years – as their fit change due to shrinking of the jawbone and/or gum ridge.

So there is what you need to know about your options for replacing missing teeth after a sports injury. Of course, specific recommendations as to which would best serve your needs will have to come from Drs. Emery and/or Ryan, since no two cases of tooth loss or patients are the same. By the way, while you’re talking these options over, ask about having a mouth guard made. After all, you really don’t want to go through this again, do you?

Contact our office to schedule a dental implant consultation at (202) 386-7100.