Can You Handle-the-Truth About Tooth Loss?

“…I want the truth! … You can’t handle the truth!”

If you’re into movie trivia you’ll recognize that court room dialogue between characters played by Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.

Face the truth. How you hear that statement depends on context.

It implies there’s more to admit. And in some instances there’s more than you care to reveal.

Some truth, on the other hand, reveals itself without any effort on our part. That’s true about tooth loss and your missing teeth.

Your face tells the story.

First, let’s clarify. Losing a tooth affects more than your mouth.

True, the impact starts there. But it’s what happens if you ignore the space left by a missing tooth that can result in more revealing damage.

That single gap can create problems for your entire mouth structure. And that’s only the beginning.

Your teeth help add shape and definition to your face. Even your skin’s texture and structure are supported by your teeth.

When you lose one or more teeth, and do not fill the gap, your face begins to appear sunken. Facial atrophy can add years to your life – making you look older than you are.

A common treatment (for missing teeth) doesn’t solve the problem

The ultimate issue is bone loss. Over time, bone surrounding the missing tooth gap begins to diminish.

Typically, you would choose a dental bridge or dentures to replace missing teeth. These are common tooth replacement options but they do not stop bone loss.

The bone and gum tissue surrounding it requires stimulation to be healthy. A stable structure (like your natural tooth) within the bone tissue stimulates it.

Stronger at the root

Dental implants (unlike dentures or a dental bridge) form a necessary anchor point. An implant is actually fused into your jawbone to support your new teeth and prevent bone loss.

The implant creates a new root. Your bone tissue begins to adapt to it, stimulates its ongoing health, and prevents bone loss.

Dentures and dental bridges allow you to eat, chew effectively, and help maintain the appearance of having teeth.Dental implants function as your natural teeth also, but their stability and bone loss prevention surpasses common tooth replacement options.

Truth is, you lose teeth and you lose more than function. Dental implants can help save-face (literally) by maintaining your necessary facial structure and preventing bone loss.

Question: What tooth loss “truth” do you fear? Appearance? Function? Etc.? Comment.

 

 

The “Big-3” (Non-Clinical) Reasons to Choose Wisely When Replacing Your Missing Teeth

The statistics alone could “tip” your choice. No one is immune.

Tooth loss happens. Here’s what we know…

Statistics reveal that up to 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have experienced tooth loss. At least one permanent tooth has been lost by this age group as result of an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal, or tooth decay.

And even more astounding…

By age 74, 26% of adults have lost not just one, but ALL, of their permanent teeth.

The big question (besides controllable, dental care issues): is there a healthy, attractive “fix” that will enable you to do the big-three following tooth loss?

The Big-3? 

There’s a practical impact that accompanies missing teeth. Most important is the clinical and ongoing oral health impact.

You could live unaware that gum deterioration and bone loss are occurring. The impact your missing tooth or teeth have on surrounding teeth might not present any noticeable evidence for months.

But that’s no reason to ignore the impact.

Practically speaking, you’re most likely to feel the loss in your daily routine. Losing your teeth affects the big-3 dental functions – your ability to eat (chew), speak (clearly), and smile (confidently).

The common “fix”

Typically you would repair the gap caused by missing teeth with a fixed bridge or removable dentures. These are common treatments and could be your best, current option.

Understand that these tooth replacement options are far from perfect. Dentures can slip, make a clicking noise when eating or speaking, and – in some cases – lead to bone loss beneath your gums.

A fixed bridge comes with side-effects too. Dental bridgework can affect adjacent healthy teeth and any existing, recurrent tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease cause more problems for fixed bridges.

And there’s the issue of long-term costs. Fixed bridges and removable dentures require replacement every seven to 15 years, on average.

Another option to keep you eating, speaking, and smiling with ease

Tooth loss is traumatic enough. You want to continue doing the basic things your teeth are designed to do and keep them healthy too.

Keep your gums, adjacent teeth, and jawbone healthy. And continue eating, speaking, and smiling without fear or reduced ability.

How?

Dental implants are solid, long-term, healthy replacements for your missing tooth/teeth. They will not slip, make noise (when speaking or eating), or keep you from confidently smiling.

You can trust your dental implant treatment to provide long-lasting wear. They won’t decay and bone loss is not a problem for your dental implant.

Missing teeth shouldn’t cause more problems than the initial trauma. Guard your dental health and enjoy the practical benefits of your teeth – eating, speaking, and smiling – by choosing dental implants.

Question: Have you considered replacing your missing teeth? Is there a reason/reasons you would choose a dental bridge or removable dentures over dental implants? Comment.

 

A Tooth Loss Problem You Might Not Have Considered

Timing is everything. Or is it?

We’ve shared the importance of treating missing or damaged teeth. The use-it-or-lose-it principle applies here.

Consider weight training.

Fitness training with weights builds and grows muscle. Yet, if training is stopped, muscles can atrophy (shrink) from non-use.

Muscle atrophy will occasionally lead to injury. Your surrounding muscles begin to bear the load and take on more of the stress to compensate for your injured tissue.

A bone can be stressed during weight training too. Bone expands to support adjoining muscles and it can atrophy like muscle.

Teeth perform a type of weight training for your gums and bone tissue. Biting and chewing are common exercises that strengthen and maintain your mouth’s bone and tissue health.

Why tooth loss is risky.

If you lose a tooth there’s reduced chewing and biting in the area of loss. The bone no longer holds your tooth and atrophy can occur.

Over time, the gap left by a missing or damaged tooth will become weaker. Your bone and tissue will shrink.

More specifically, vertical bone loss can occur. This effects the height and supportive build-up required to hold your tooth/teeth in place.

But that’s not all…

Lateral bone loss also occurs. The width of your bone can shrink and provide less of a foundation for tooth replacement.

The height and width of your bone and tissue are essential to preserving your oral health. If you ignore a missing tooth long enough the damage is more difficult to correct.

There’s hope.

Dental implants exercise (stimulate) the bone. And timing is everything when you’re considering dental implant treatment.

In fact, as much as 60% of your bone mass can be lost in the first six months. The rate of bone loss varies person to person.

Dental implants require bone as an anchor – vertically and laterally. Some alternative treatments, such as bone grafting, can precede your dental implant treatment if necessary.

The more time you allow post tooth loss, the riskier (and costlier) the corrective treatment is. It’s important to treat your lost tooth sooner rather than later.

Avoid adding expense to your tooth loss treatment. Consult with us about a dental implant.

Remember timing IS everything.

Question: Have you lost a tooth? What has kept you from replacing it? What question(s) can we answer about treatment and timing? Comment.