If your dentist has installed a dental implant to replace one of your missing teeth, you are probably quite pleased with the results. Not only does the dental implant restoration fill the gap left by the missing tooth crown, but it also replaces the missing dental root. Instead of lying at the surface of the gums, a dental implant is installed by drilling the rod or screw directly into the jawbone. This helps ensure that the implant provides the stability and security of a natural tooth. Additionally, it offers other benefits of a natural tooth root, such as the bone stimulation needed for your jaw bone to retain adequate density.

Still, even though your implant has healed properly in place, it can be dislodged through trauma. As a result, you may be more susceptible to losing your dental implant if you regularly play contact sports, such as basketball. Here are a few things that you can do to help protect your dental implant on the basketball court.

Wear a face guard

A clear plastic face guard can protect your mouth and face during games. The guard, which may look a bit odd due too its shiny glass-like appearance, can prevent elbows and hands from striking your mouth hard enough to force a dental implant out of position. This is especially important when you are attempting a rebound underneath the goal or trying to catch a ball that is headed for your face. If a blow to the mouth does force the dental implant out of position, the device must be replaced.

The dental implant goes through a healing process called osseointegration during the first couple of months following the implantation procedure. Osseointegration allows the dental implant to fuse or connect with the bone of your jaw. Once this connection is lost, it will not reform.

Use a mouth guard

Flexible mouth guards are frequently used in sports. They help protect the teeth by forming a shock-absorbent, rubbery layer between your teeth and your inner lips.

Mouth guards are available in different sizes. Be sure to choose one that is comfortable and covers your dental implant properly.

Don't chew sunflower seed shells

In some sports, such as basketball and baseball, players sometimes chew sunflower seeds in the shells as they await their turn in the game. If you have formed this habit, chew sugarless gum instead. The hard shells of the sunflower seeds can become wedged between your dental implant and an adjacent tooth, causing the implant to be forced out of position.

 If you play basketball and would like to learn more ways to protect your dental implants, schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist in your area (like those at Alliance Family Dental).