I am an avid soccer player. Last November, I received a dental implant because I lost a front tooth when I was playing goalie and collided with another player. I found a dentist online, went to the office, and asked for an implant. I had the surgery in early November, and everything is going well so far. It’s healing, and I am waiting for a permanent crown. Yesterday, I spoke with my cousin, who is in dental school in CA. She told me that I shouldn’t have asked for an implant. She said that if I continue to play soccer and have another accident that affects the same tooth, I will have huge problems with the implant. She is only in dental school, so I need another opinion. Is it too late to get the implant removed and get a dental bridge instead? – Jordan from South Portland, ME
Jordan – Your cousin’s concern is valid. If you experience an impact to the same tooth, the implant can be knocked out of your jawbone, damage the bone, and require bone grafting.
Your implant surgery was in November, so there is no need to remove the implant fixture now. Your jawbone is in the process of fusing with the bone. A dental bridge requires preparing each tooth adjacent to the missing one. The bridge connects the teeth, so if you receive impact again, those teeth would be at risk for significant damage.
Are Dental Implants a Good Option If You Play Contact Sports?
If you’re an avid boxer or play, soccer, hockey, football, or other high-contact sports, talk with your dentist about the best form of tooth replacement.
Ideally, when you’re active in sports:
- A dentist can provide you with a removable dental flipper to replace the missing tooth.
- You can remove the flipper while you’re playing sports and wear a mouthguard to protect your mouth and teeth.
- Get a dental implant when you’re no longer an avid player of impact sports.
What Can You Do Now that You Have an Implant?
You’ve already received an implant, so talk to your dentist about your concerns and order a custom mouthguard to provide maximum protection while you’re playing sports. Limit or avoid soccer-playing while the artificial tooth root is healing. Allow time for it to stabilize by avoiding activities that can cause an impact to your face or mouth.
Michael Szarek, DMD, a Lowell, MA, cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.