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.



There’s greater value in replacing your missing tooth

Blame the Tooth Fairy for teaching you the individual value of a lost tooth. But a missing tooth holds more than under-the-pillow dollar value.

Each tooth plays a vital, practical role in your mouth. And a dental implant is an invaluable restorative treatment for tooth loss.

It’s useful to think of your mouth as an eco-system. Your individual teeth and gums form a practical support network.

When your teeth are present-and-accounted-for and healthy they’re designed to work in perfect synch with each other. But when one goes missing due to trauma or poor dental hygiene, your entire mouth environment is at risk.

Let’s get practical

Dentists view each tooth individually. In office, for practical purposes, your tooth is identified by a number. Think of it as a numeric street address. In the same way, each tooth functions in a neighborly way with the others.

The back teeth support your facial height and enable you to chew your food. Your front teeth cut the food you eat, protect your back teeth and jaw movement, and showcase your all-important smile. You can begin to understand what the absence of one tooth can do to your mouth’s function. One missing tooth can impact your ability to chew and your appearance.

The most impractical thing you can do

Tooth loss is traumatic. But once the shock has worn off it’s easy to get accustomed to the loss.

Typically, you’ll begin to compensate by favoring your remaining teeth. It’s a natural and resourceful response but not for the long term health of your remaining teeth, gums, and bone structure.

Back (posterior) teeth support the vertical height of your face. Missing teeth in that zone can cause loss of facial height and collapse your bite.

Pressure is naturally placed on the remaining back teeth for chewing. Impact on the front (anterior) teeth can push them outward impacting their function and your appearance.

Form and function

Dental implants restore how your teeth look and perform. An implant supported crown prevents the adjacent teeth from being compromised.

You can avoid additional and often costly treatment by replacing missing teeth with implants. The long term health of your mouth is preserved as well as the cost-effective and time-valued benefit that implants deliver.

Your missing teeth were once an asset – thanks to the beloved Tooth Fairy. Now, it’s more valuable to replace them with the long-term,cost-effective value of dental implants.

Question: What has prevented you from replacing a missing tooth or teeth? Comment.

Choice, Necessity and Your Dental Health

Freedom of choice is a gift. If you don’t believe this, consider how you feel the next time something happens beyond your control. There are dental treatments you can choose. And there are those that result from an emergency or a treatment diagnosis. For the most part you can freely choose from a variety of cosmetic dental treatments. When a diagnosis reveals a threat to your oral health you may be forced to choose a restorative treatment.

Cosmetic Dental Treatment as Choice

These days you could elect to have a purely cosmetic dental procedure. A smile makeover is a common option that includes tooth color, tooth alignment, replacement of missing teeth, tooth balance, etc. Cosmetic dentistry works closely with you and your desire for an attractive, new smile. A treatment plan will be designed to achieve exactly what you want from the dental smile makeover.

Some restorative procedures may be included too. Bonding, veneers, dental crowns, orthodontics (braces) or oral surgery are common procedures that coincide with some cosmetic dental treatment.


Restorative Dental Treatment as Necessity

A dental restoration is ultimately your choice. But a properly presented diagnosis will most often reveal that restorative treatment is a necessity to assure your best oral health. Your treatment plan will determine the specific procedures you need. Most full mouth restorations require phases of treatment and more than one office visit. Restorative treatment can involve the same basic procedures as cosmetic dental treatment. Common essentials include regular teeth cleanings and periodontal (gum) care.

Crowns, bridges, and dental implants are standard restorative treatments as well. Braces may be necessary to move your teeth into proper alignment. Bone grafts  and soft tissue placement are common restorative treatments too. These enhance the stability of your teeth and prepare them for effective implant placement.

The choice is yours. You can choose freely or your choice will be based on necessity. Either way – it ultimately depends on maintaining good oral health habits.


Do you consider your current dental needs to be cosmetic, restorative or a combination of each?

These 4 Factors Could Reveal That You Need a Dental Restoration

These 4 Factors Could Reveal That You Need a Dental Restoration

What’s permanent these days? Some things are enduring by design.

Count your teeth among your life’s permanent fixtures. And even if you lose your teeth to trauma, neglect, or other factors, a dental restoration can repair what’s lost.

Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime. Dental treatment revolves around the big idea of restoring your teeth to their normal and healthy function.

Life isn’t always kind to your teeth. And when you factor in common neglect or a random accident the odds favor that you’ll need some form of restorative dental treatment.

Certain factors increase the odds that you’ll require a dental restoration. Some you can control others you cannot.

4 Factors That Can Determine Your Need for Dental Restoration

1-Dental Decay or Trauma

Tooth decay doesn’t happen overnight. Stopping or treating tooth decay is the goal of regular dental checkups.

It’s vital to treat decay before it begins to affect your teeth and surrounding gum tissue. Schedule an appointment with a dental hygienist two times per year to clean your teeth and evaluate your oral health.

Occasionally you’ll experience dental trauma. A random fall, an unexpected accident, biting into food, or chewing on ice can break one or more of your teeth.

It’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible when you experience dental trauma. Timeliness can impact the extent of your necessary restorative treatment that results from neglect or trauma.

2-Injury or Fracture

The same applies to an injury to your tooth/teeth. Contact a dental professional the moment you injure or break a tooth.

Teeth are designed to function in partnership with your gums and jaw bone. Delaying the inevitable need for a repair can erode the health of your tooth’s surrounding tissue.

The restorative diagnosis will determine the necessary treatment. A simple tooth restoration could evolve into a more complex treatment plan to include your gums or jaw the longer you delay an initial exam.

3-The Daily Grind

Your teeth are designed to fit to together. Although they form a connection the ongoing impact can wear down your tooth surface and structure.

Occasionally, you will grind your teeth during sleep. Lack of awareness can erode the surface of your teeth and begin to damage them down into the root.

Regular checkups during dental visits can track the structural health of your teeth. Certain clues reveal the presence or extent of any tooth grinding and a plan for restorative treatment can be presented.

4-A Pain in the Neck

The presence of ongoing head or neck pain is a symptom. The pain is often the result of tooth or jaw misalignment.

Treating what’s known as “occlusion” can help eliminate your neck or jaw pain. A restorative diagnosis could include orthodontic treatment to bring your teeth and jaw into proper alignment.

Dental restoration can be as diverse a treatment as your symptoms. These common circumstances are four good reasons to schedule an exam to discuss restorative solutions.

Which of the four factors are you experiencing?

How Dental Implants Restore Your Courage to Eat

Many of our fears are irrational. But some – particularly those having to do with tooth loss – are real.

Think about your childhood fears. Remember those nightly shadows in your bedroom you were certain were monsters ready to pounce?A desperate call for mom or dad revealed the truth. What you imagined to be a creature was nothing more than your coat and cap draped over a chair or a doll tossed in the corner of your room.

Fear is a real emotion. It’s magnified as we age and our bodies begin to wear down due to neglect or trauma. And your teeth aren’t immune.

Tooth loss is scary.

For example, losing teeth impacts the ability to chew. Chewing difficulties cause us to fear certain foods.

Intimidating foods include corn-the-cob, apples, and of course a thick, delicious steak or a sweet rack of bbq ribs. Food should be enjoyable, not scary…right!?

But here’s one fear you can eliminate – tooth loss doesn’t always result in modifying your eating habits.

However, tooth loss does change the quality of your diet. Occasionally an increase in fatty foods or those high in cholesterol will replace healthier choices.

Some foods such as those with a higher carbohydrate or sugar ratio are chosen over meats, raw fruits and vegetables. Also, replacing teeth with dentures doesn’t guarantee an improvement in food choice.

 Strong teeth and the ability to chew are essential to a proper diet. 

Dental implant treatment restores the natural ability to chew. Aside from consulting with a registered dietitian, you’re better equipped to enjoy a healthy diet when your teeth function according to design.

Dentures are one alternative. But there’s always the fear of slippage or (perish the thought) having them fall out while eating.

Dental implants restore your chewing function. You can choose what you eat and when.

Food is for your enjoyment. It’s unnatural and unnecessary to fear your dietary choices.

Stay in control of your diet. And when tooth loss occurs, dental implants are the comfort you need day…or night.

What foods do you/would you miss the most due to tooth loss?

Implant Dentistry: A basic understanding of dental implants could save your appearance and chewing ability

photoLife happens. Missing or broken teeth are a common occurrence.

Many patients prefer an alternative to the standard treatment of a bridge or dentures. Consider a dental implant as a solid and cosmetic dental option for your missing teeth.

What are dental implants?

Think of a dental implant as a redesigned tooth and root structure. Picture the solid steel infrastructure of a building under construction.

The foundation is prepared and the solid iron beams are placed first. Once they’re anchored in place the aesthetically designed exterior is added.

The visible exterior delivers the appeal. Even so, the architectural wonder is a complete package from the foundation up.

photo (2)Consider your missing tooth space as the foundation for new architecture – dentally speaking. The available bone structure creates the solid base for anchoring your dental implant.

A titanium post forms the necessary infrastructure. Once it’s surgically placed and adapts to your bone tissue, the new exterior tooth can be applied to design your renewed, attractive look.

Why now is the best time to plan for a dental implant.

Your dental implant treatment is a thorough process. The duration from start to finish will vary patient to patient.

Let’s assume yours is treatment planned around a missing tooth. No extraction is necessary.

Your treatment goal is to replace a missing tooth with a strong, functional new tooth. And an implant is the perfect solution to rebuild your mouth within the coming year.

Your dental implant procedure in four (simplified) steps.

  • photo (1)Step 1 – Consultation and X-rays – schedule your consultation and x-rays to determine supportive bone structure and tissue health.
  • Step 2 – Implant placement and healing period – your implant is placed in the jaw and allowed to heal and integrate with the surrounding bone. Three to six months should be allowed for healing and restoration to occur.
  • Step 3 – Tooth (Crown) Impression – an impression for the crown is obtained to form the new tooth.
  • Step 4 – Try-in – fit, color, attachment and adjustment are determined.

Dr. Spina will guide you step by step along the way. This partnership will assure that your dental implant effectively supports your new tooth, heals appropriately, and creates the aesthetic and function you desire.