Isaiah Thomas and the Missing Tooth

boston celtics photo
Photo by S. Yodo

Nobody likes juggling their job and dental work. Scheduling is a nightmare, and trying to concentrate while dealing with dental pain is a… well. It’s a pain. Imagine what it was like, then, for Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, when he played against the Wizards with a missing tooth between dentist appointments!

Thomas, who had lost the tooth in Game 1 against the Wizards, started in Game 2 despite being in “a pretty good deal of pain,” according to coach Brad Stevens. Judging from what we know about losing a tooth, that’s a significant understatement! Thomas lost his upper-left incisor to an accidental elbow in Game 1, and suffered–according to doctors–some damage to other parts of his mouth. Luckily, he recovered the tooth as you can see in this footage.

Mr. Thomas certainly felt the loss of the tooth

Working in a high-stress environment comes with a number of physiological markers, all of which are exacerbated with an injury like a lost tooth. To give you some idea of what happened in Mr. Thomas’ mouth, remember that teeth are composed of more than just the hard outer coating of enamel. In addition to the hard, insensitive outer layer, your teeth are living parts of your body, with a high concentration of nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue. This means that Mr. Thomas certainly felt the loss of the tooth, as well as any potential damage to the surrounding skeletal structure in his jaw, and any other teeth that were likewise hit. If you’re running back and forth across the court, you’re definitely going to have an elevated heart-rate, which means an exacerbated inflammatory response from the body as blood rushes to the site. Compressed nerves at the injury means an increase of pain and sensitivity, all of which Mr. Thomas had to deal with in Game 2 against the Wizards. Our hats are off to Mr. Thomas for playing–and winning–against the Wizards in the playoff game!

But what comes next for Mr. Thomas’ tooth?

With an injury like a lost tooth, it’s important to respond to the injury quickly and responsibly to prevent further damage. A knocked-out tooth (known as an “avulsed tooth” to dentists) can, in fact, be saved, but requires immediate attention. If the tooth is recoverable, don’t touch it by the root! Minimize damage to the living part of the tooth; rinse it with water (no soap!) and reposition it in the mouth, if at all possible. If repositioning the tooth isn’t possible, make sure to at least keep the tooth from drying out by keeping it in your mouth, an emergency tooth preservation kit, or milk. Visit a dentist or an endodondist within 30 minutes of the injury (even if you’re in the middle of a game!)

If worse comes to worst, and you’re in the middle of a playoff game you can’t get out of, then you may lose the tooth. It happens– there’s nothing to be ashamed of! Fortunately, there are a number of options for replacements, including removable partial dentures, bridges, and dental implants. Make sure to ask your dentist which solution will be best for you, if you should need one!

If you find yourself minus a tooth like Mr. Thomas did, don’t worry– there are solutions. Contact us today with any questions you may have. Remember, when it comes to missing teeth, time is of the essence!

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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