High sticks, flying pucks, and the outbreak of fights surround with hockey playoffs this year with a few "chiclets" shattered on the ice.

According to a study of professional hockey players in Finland, the most common injury suffered during games and practices is what's called a noncomplicated crown fracture — essentially, broken teeth. In most cases, this type of dental injury was a result of a blow from the hockey stick. In hockey terms, this is known as a "high stick." Out of 479 injured hockey players studied, 44 percent had a dental related injury — and only 10 percent reported using a mouth guard or face mask.

"Mouth guards are critical to protecting the teeth when playing intense sports," said Dr. Jonathan B. Levine, Dentist & Oral Health Care Expert to Medical Daily. "Adding extra protection such as helmets and masks will also help to protect teeth." Mouth guards are effective because they serve as shock absorbers that prevent fractures and tooth loss.

Unfortunately, only about 60 percent of players wear a mouth guard, according to the National Hockey League's (NHL) Injury Analysis Panel. In the league, full cages and mouth guards are often not worn because they interfere with communication and breathing among the players. Even worse, missing teeth in the NHL is seen as a badge of pride - it's a macho thing to have a crooked smile and to avoid using mouth guards.

The 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth that occur each year can be prevented through the use of a mouth guard says Colgate Professional.

The professional players of this high collision sport have a long way to go to understand the physical and mental repercussions tooth loss can have on their health. The frequency of dental surgeries is prone to cause infections and decrease energy levels in the body. Tooth loss at a young age also means a committed lifetime of dentistry.

"The tooth has to be replaced, managed and re-done over time," said Dr. Levine.

Pro-athlete tooth care is a serious matter in the emotionally-charged, extreme game of ice hockey. But it probably won't stop anyone on the eight best eight teams of the NHL from going all out in their quest for the Stanley Cup. So for now, let's look at the best 10 toothless smiles of this year's playoffs.