Sports are infamous for being physically taxing! Even the best athletes are regularly injured and forced out of games with mouth and tooth injuries that are major, minor or just downright raw. Hockey players are no exception. Hockey players are constantly slammed into the boards, run over by razor-sharp ice skates, hit in the face with sticks, and punched in the mouth and jaw while engaged in fisticuffs with other perturbed players.
Painful mouth and tooth injuries come to be expected by hockey players the longer they play the sport. The mouth of an average hockey player is expected to lose several teeth throughout its career. Some hockey players lose up to 7 teeth at a time!
Jonathan Cheechoo, one of the well-known players for the San Jose Sharks, was hit in the mouth by a stray puck and lost four-and-a-half pearly whites, reported The East Carolinian. When asked about the injury, Cheechoo replied, “You’re not surprised when you lose them [teeth], but this was my first time! I guess it’s nice to have kept them as long as I did."
Hockey teams even hire their own team dentists that can help with any tooth procedure from digging tooth particles out of a player's mouth to giving him root canals in between periods. They attempt to ease tooth pain so players can get back out on the ice.
Several inventions have been created to help hide or prevent tooth wreckage in dangerous sports such as hockey. A few examples of these are mouth guards, false teeth, and face masks. Mouth guards and false teeth, however, are not extremely helpful in the prevention of a displaced tooth. Nearly all hockey players use mouth guards, yet the players still lose many teeth on a regular basis, and false teeth are just replacements for previously misplaced teeth.
The only surefire way to avoid tooth loss is the face mask. Such a mask is worn by Dallas Stars’ defenseman Stephane Robidas. The hockey face mask is basically a light goalie mask. It is still prepared for 90 mile-per-hour slap-shots shot directly at it! This mask, though it may seem cumbersome, does provide the necessary precautions to protect the teeth of hockey players.
Remember when you are playing hockey that to be safe, wear both a mask and a mouth guard, and make sure you have a quality dentist who is ready for just about anything!