Hockey is a game that involves too many collisions between players. It is a high-speed contact game and makes you want to ask if hockey players lose their teeth.
Perhaps you have seen a few NHLers taking some snapshots without a tooth or two. This makes you wonder what happened to their teeth? To cut to the chase, Hockey players lose their teeth even when they are wearing a protective kit.
Why Do Hockey Players Lose Their Teeth?
There are so many reasons behind NHLers losing their teeth. In some cases, the player may not be wearing a mouth guard or perhaps wore it incorrectly and got hit in the mouth area.
Notwithstanding, there are plenty of circumstances where players lost their teeth despite wearing the best mouthguard. Since the game is fast-paced, you may not possibly be able to prepare or defend yourself from each situation that unfolds in the arena.
We all know that collision from a high-speed flying puck, fist, or stick can cause significant damage to a player. This is why many athletes in the hockey game have lost their teeth despite wearing enough kits to protect themselves.
How Much Force Can Remove A Player’s Teeth?
According to LIVESCIENCE, a powerful punch exerts an average force of 5,000 Newtons. This force is equivalent to about 1,124 pounds.
On the other hand, it takes about 3,000 Newtons (674 pounds) of force to give you a 25% chance of breaking a strong bone in your body. While small bones can break after experiencing an average force of 111 Newtons (25 pounds).
Even the slightest force that can break a small bone is capable of knocking your teeth lose irrespective of your mouth protection. Hence, a player can easily lose his teeth from a flying punch or when he gets hit by a swung stick.
In the worst-case scenario, a direct shot or malicious stick to the teeth will leave you all bloody without a tooth to keep your beautiful smile intact.
Do Hockey Players Wear Mouthguards?
Although the NHL does not mandate players to wear a Mouthguard, research shows that 90% of the players have opted for wearing it during games.
Over time, the mouthguard has saved many veteran athletes from sustaining terrible injuries. However, mouthguards are not strong enough to offset the force of a flying hard rubber disk (puck) that directly hit one’s teeth.
Nonetheless, it has the capacity to reduce the impact and decrease the possibility of sustainable damage.
Interestingly, the mouthguard will keep you from biting your tongue or smashing your teeth together. Hence, it will prevent you from potentially chipping or breaking them due to collisions.
Do Mouthguards Really Work?
Despite all the benefits that come with a mouthguard, you can not be assured a 100% protection from wearing one. The truth is, mouthguards offer your teeth partial protection when you get hit in the mouth.
It only covers the top row of your teeth, as you bite from the top to keep it in place. Hence, the bottom row of your teeth becomes vulnerable when you get a hit to the face.
In a nutshell, a mouthguard does not always work. It may sometimes fail you, depending on the magnitude of the force that is exerted during the collision.
But why risk losing a tooth when you may get protected by wearing a mouthguard in some harsh scenarios? Another important thing to note is that the mouthguard becomes more effective when you equip yourself with complete protective kits.
Do Hockey Players Get Teeth Implants?
Perhaps you are wondering if hockey players will have to live with an incomplete dentition for the rest of their life. Well, most athletes who lose their teeth while playing the game wear a removable dental appliance.
These dental kits hold a fake tooth/teeth into place and help to give the player a normal look. You wouldn’t even notice that the player is putting on an artificial tooth.
Although the dental kit is used to serve as a replacement for one’s tooth, it is not meant for eating. It is advisable that active hockey players should avoid getting a teeth implant until the end of their career.
This is because you may still get involved in another collision after the implant. If you ever get hit after having a dental implant, the bridge may get torn out and eventually damage your jaw.
When this happens, you will require a bone graft to fix your jaw. Also, the whole scenario is extremely painful. Hence, hockey players are usually advised to use a removable, partial flipper while they are still active in the game.
Upon retirement, they can opt-in for getting teeth implants/bridges or other dental work to replace the missing teeth.
What Percentage Of NHL Players Have Missing Teeth?
Aside from goaltenders, NHL players have been categorised into three different groups;
1. Those who have lost one or more teeth
2. Players who will lose their teeth in future to come and
3. A few lucky athletes who will get to keep their dentition intact throughout their career days.
Trying to determine the percentage of NHL players who have missing teeth can be such a tedious task. However, research shows that more than 85% of players have either lost a tooth or more.
Interestingly, NHL players believe that losing their teeth is just part of the game.
It is not quite easy to become a full-fledged hockey player. Truth is, there are quite a good number of sacrifices to be done to get to the level of veterans.
Nonetheless, you should make efforts to put on your complete kits to avoid some injuries which would have been prevented by your kits. If you end up losing a tooth when playing hockey, fear not because you are not alone.
In fact, it is the lifestyle of hockey professionals to walk on the street each day smile smiling with a missing tooth.