This is our tribute to the basketball players around the league who give that extra 10% (sometimes more) and sacrifice their body (or their teeth) to the game they love. Dr. Laska works with the Los Angeles Clippers as their official team dentist. Whether it’s during the game or during practice, Dr. Laska always recommends wearing a mouthguard. Except don’t have it hanging out of your mouth like that Steph Curry fellow. Keep it protecting your teeth. It’s basically a bumper for your pearly-whites.
But this segment is for all of those players around the league who didn’t seem to get the memo about mouthguards. We’ve been seeing a lot of knocked-out teeth in the paint. Players are giving it their all. In this run-and-gun-driven league, there are still some teams that are playing with a crash-and-bang style that leaves some players who get caught at the wrong spot on the court at the wrong time, and they end up losing an important piece of their winning smile.
Tyler Johnson is a player who likes to go to the rim but paid the price for it in November of 2016 by getting hit by the Detroit Piston’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s follow-through at the hoop. Johnson even kept his gapped smile for show. “I’m just letting it rock right now,” he said on record. “I’m engaged. I’m in no rush.”
Dennis Schröder caught a knee to the mouth against the Portland Trailblazers last season. Other than losing the tooth, he had a great game, scoring 18 points in just under 20 minutes of play.
The Michael Jordan of getting his teeth knocked out is actually Goran Dragic. In April of 2016 while playing the (ahem, Detroit Pistons) Dragic took an elbow from Spencer Dinwiddie, losing his tooth — and Dragic was called for the foul. He is reported to have tossed his tooth to the sidelines and continued play until Dwayne Wade, who still played for the Heat at the time, could sub him out. That wasn’t the first time Dragic has lost a tooth in an NBA game. It was actually the second time that season! So, we gotta tip our hat to this guy, although it seems kind of silly that he would still insist on not wearing a mouthguard.
Apparently Dragic has lost over 6 teeth, all while playing the game of basketball. The Heat team dentist gives Dragic much more respect than Dragic gets on the basketball court. It is reported that Dragic’s dentist has precise molds and color shades on hand in order to consolidate the implant or crown treatment process for Dragic alone.
Lost teeth happen in the collegiate ranks as well. They also happen on the court during practice, which you hear a lot less of, because teams will tend to keep it under wraps.
Basketball doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves when it comes to the physicality of it. Higher profile contact sports like football and boxing get the lion’s share of caution and attention. That’s why there are fewer mouth injuries and lost teeth in football and boxing than basketball. Basketball and hockey stay in the higher numbers when it comes to tooth damage and tooth loss specifically because most players don’t wear protection to their face or teeth.
Mouthguards have come a long way in design and functionality. It’s not uncommon to see players with low-profile mouthguards. You can even catch the more ostentatious players who have colorful mouthguards because they feel the need to express themselves in that fashion.
If you find yourself in a particularly heated game of pick-up at your local gym, make sure you have a mouthguard on hand. If not, maybe sag around the perimeter and stay out of the paint, unless you want to pose the risk of damaging your pearly whites. It’s not uncommon for gyms to make you sign waivers that you can’t hold them responsible for your injuries, so it will be on you to get the treatment you need, possibly affecting insurance premiums. Just be safe out there, is all we’re trying say!
If an emergency does happen, contact Mid Wilshire Dentistry today and we can help restore your smile to its previous luster.