Duncan Teeth! Repair Work Could Take Months

By Natalie Martinez
|  Monday, May 24, 2010  |  Updated 7:20 PM CDT
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Blackhawks <a title=Defenseman Duncan Keith lost seven teeth during match-up with the San Jose Sharks." />

Blackhawks Defenseman Duncan Keith lost seven teeth during match-up with the San Jose Sharks.

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Call him Duncan Teeth.

Blackhawks Defenseman Duncan Keith took a puck to the mouth Sunday night when Patrick Marlowe tried to clear a rolling puck from the Sharks' Zone.

Four teeth on top and three on the bottom were knocked right out of his mouth, leaving him with a classic hockey player's grin.

But instead of rushing off to see a dentist, Keith did what only a tough, no-fear-having hockey player could do: he got back into the game and helped earn the team's trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

"Other than professional athletes, who are super men, I don't think anybody could spit out body parts and go back out and play. I mean, it's absolutely remarkable that they had the strength to do that," said Chicago dentist and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Sanford Barr.

Barr says Keith will have several options to remake his smile as long as his health isn't in jeopardy.

"You really need to carefully have this assessed because it is not only a cosmetic emergency but it can be a real health issue as well," he said, explaining that a dentist is sometimes that first person to tell whether a patient has a skull fracture or internal bleeding to the brain.

But assuming there are no lasting health issues, then a dentist could proceed with determining how much, if any, of the broken teeth can be salvaged. Implants or bridgework or removeable bridgework could be done over the course of several months.

"They probably could get some kind of temporary within a day so that they could be presentable, although some hockey players sort of like that -- it's a badge of courage when they have teeth missing," Barr said.

So, will Keith skate through the playoffs with a hole or two in his grin? Possibly. It's been done before.

"If you're not fighting for a championship and don't care about your life, you really need to carefully have this assessed," Barr said.

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