Dr. Don Salomon was the junior team dentist for the New York Rangers in 1994 when they last won the Stanley Cup, and he hopes to see them win another one on his watch. Although it looks like an uphill fight, there is always hope, and Dr. Salomon will be there tonight to provide hope and emergency dental care.
What a Team Dentist Does for a Hockey Team
Earlier this playoff season, a story on the dentist of the Montreal Canadiens highlighted what a team dentist does for hockey players. Snap decisions are key for the team dentist, who has to decide in mere seconds how to handle a decision, and just a few minutes to fix it so the player can get back on the ice without interfering too much with the lineup.
The main thing is to stabilize the situation. A partly broken tooth has to be completely broken off so the player won’t swallow it. An exposed nerve on the broken tooth may have to be covered. Most of what he does is stitch up cuts in the mouth because players aren’t allowed to play if they’re bleeding.
Dr. Salomon was featured in the New York Times for his work in 1993, and the story focused on a particularly gruesome part of the job. Dr. Salomon had to push a tooth back into place for bruiser Scott “Bam Bam” Stevens, then of the Washington Capitals. And Bam Bam wanted no anesthetic. So, with two other players holding Bam Bam down, Dr. Salomon had to try several times to push the tooth back into place.
Putting Dental Implants on Hold
One unusual aspect of dental care for hockey players is that their teeth are not normally replaced with dental implants right away. A player may lose one or more teeth in an incident, but instead of trying to replace the tooth right away, it’s considered prudent to wait.
That’s because when hockey players go back on the ice, their implants would be at the same risk as their natural teeth. And if an implant gets broken inside the bone, it can be very hard to remove. This means that they will often use a dental crown to try to preserve teeth that are very badly broken and should be replaced. They need the tooth there to hold the place and stimulate the jawbone so that it doesn’t deteriorate. When it’s time for retirement, then the player will get the tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
We’ll all be cheering on the Rangers tonight to bring back the spirit they had in the first two games and a little bit of luck to turn the series around. And if a tooth or two gets sacrificed on the way, we know Dr. Salomon will be there to help out.
But if you’re looking for quality dental care off the ice in Rockland County, please call 845-627-7645 today for an appointment at B & D Dental Excellence today.