West Coast Eagle Elliot Yeo loses teeth in horrific sporting injury
On May 24, 2014, 20-year-old midfielder Elliot Yeo made a tragic mistake, which potentially could cost tens of thousands of dollars in dental fees, by taking his mouthguard off while playing a game against Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The 30 second (and very expensive) “breather”
At the time, the current CEO of Sports Medicine Australia issued a reminder following that incident, urging players that “…mouthguards are designed to be worn, not to be tucked into socks.”
Furthermore, he stated “A well-fitting mouthguard should be an essential part of a footballer’s protective equipment and should be worn at all times.”
“All I want to Christmas is my two front teeth”
Today there are a myriad of cutting edge dental treatments available, and we are sure that Yeo will be fine. But this incident will come at a cost. And it will take time – to treat an incident that was completely and utterly avoidable.
‘Fixing’ a dental disaster
“It’s a lifetime injury, not an isolated event,” stated a prominent Melbourne dentist last week.
He quoted that the cost of treating such an injury could be anywhere up to $70,000. However, we think this quote is quite extreme, and at Dentistry Plus we would estimate that such costs may only amount to approximately $15,000. Nonetheless, it is a great shame to have to spend the time and money on something so avoidable.
Adjacent teeth could also be affected by the trauma, requiring Yeo to be under observation for at least the next couple of years. The roots of his teeth are still in place as the teeth were broken just above the gum line and not completely dislodged. Therefore, the roots are still intact.
With his teeth left in this vulnerable state, the nerves are exposed, which is incredibly painful. Even breathing hurt. It is possible that he would either need to have the nerve surgically removed or have the two teeth totally extracted.
Dental implants provide a fantastic long-term solution for those individuals missing teeth. However, they are not an ideal substitute for professional athletes playing a high impact sport. Dental implants are attached to the bone and therefore are totally immobile. Our natural teeth have some ligamentous structure, allowing for slight movement. With the option of dental implants removed, it is possible that he will need to have dentures fitted for the duration of his football career.
Sports mouthguards – an absolute necessity
Custom fit sports mouthguards
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