When children lose their primary teeth, we celebrate the physical sign of maturity with them, and many of us even reward them. When adults lose teeth, it is often followed with feelings of concern, shame, and fear of what it means or what to do. A surprising number of people even choose to not do anything and just acclimate to the frustrations. At Sylvan Heights Dental, we can help you have choices. We will look for the signs to help prevent tooth loss before it occurs. Or, if tooth loss still occurs, we can discuss ways to restore it. Tooth loss carries both immediate frustrations and long term negative changes to your oral health, and we want to prevent it. There are options that work with your health and your finances and we can help.
How are teeth lost?
Tooth loss is not something to feel shame or embarrassment of. We demand a lot of our teeth, and sometimes they become damaged or lost. Teeth can be lost from:
||Injury: Teeth can be knocked out or broken. Studies indicate that upwards of five million teeth are avulsed, or removed from the root, each year from engaging in sporting activities. Add this number to teeth that are knocked out from falls, vehicle accidents, and acts of violence, and that is a lot of missing teeth.
||Tooth Decay: Caries, often described as cavities, are created from bacteria breaking down the enamel of our teeth causing a hole. Studies indicate that on average, by the time you reach age 44, you will have lost one tooth from decay. That number increases dramatically to an average of twelve teeth by the age of 65. Tooth loss from decay is a very real idea that we are trying to change with dental education, and restoring missing teeth can help.
||Gum Disease: Most tooth loss is from a chronic gum disease condition known as periodontitis. Studies indicate that nearly half of adults over the age of 30 have some level of gum disease, with the more severe type increasing as we age.
Is tooth loss a problem?
In decades past, tooth loss was considered such a normal part of life that many adults just assumed that their teeth would be lost. The downside is, tooth loss is a problem, it is bad for your oral health, your self esteem, and it forces changes to your diet causing changes to your overall health. When a patient loses a tooth, even just one, there are immediate changes that begin to occur with your jawbone. It experiences an atrophy at the location of the missing tooth. With time, neighboring teeth begin to shift in that slot in an out of control movement, causing changes to your bite. While this is going on, you most likely will stop eating certain foods, or primarily chew on the other side of the mouth, causing an uneven wear of your teeth. Many patients with tooth loss find that they become embarrassed of their smile, or changes to their speech, and as a result withdraw from engaging with others, or remove themselves when eating. There is a cascade of effects that result in a change of health and lifestyle.
Reversing Tooth Loss
We can rebuild missing teeth. Dental advancements today allow us to not just replace, but rebuild teeth that are missing. Using a dental implant, we can replace the root system, making direct contact with the jawbone. This will provide a firm anchor to attach a tooth prosthetic. From single implant dental crowns, to full implant retained dentures, we can give you better oral health, and yes, you will be able to eat that ear of corn knowing your teeth will stay where they belong, attached to your jaw.
For help with tooth loss, call Sylvan Heights Dental at (503) 388-5882 for the best tooth replacement options.