Building bridges; Your options for replacing a missing tooth

Teeth

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We are all well aware that what we eat and drink can be harmful to our teeth, but what many people forget is that there are also certain habits that can adversely affect our dental health. Here are the top five.

Chewing objects: Chewing on objects such as pens and ice is bad for your teeth. This habit can cause grooves, cracks and breaks in your teeth and can also increase the risk of gum disease, leading to tooth loss.

Brushing too hard: Brushing your teeth on a regular basis is good practice. However, you can overdo it. If you brush your teeth too hard, you can wear down the enamel and break your teeth. Brushing too hard or too often can also cause sensitive gums.

Teeth grind: Grinding and clenching teeth is a common bad habit that lead to fractured teeth.

Misusing teeth: Your teeth are for chewing, they are not meant to be used as tools. Opening things, biting tape or thread can cause serious damage to your teeth.

Smoking: Smoking not only gives you bad breath, it also stains your teeth. Smoking can also lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss.

If you are having severe pain from a tooth and you need an extraction, this can be done, even if it’s outside of regular dental hours. To find an emergency dentist, go online then open your favorite search engine. Type in your zip code followed by ‘emergency dentist near me.’ You will soon have a list of local emergency dental surgeries.

How Tooth Loss Affects your Lifestyle

Whether you lost one or more teeth due to trauma, gum disease or aging it can significantly affect your lifestyle. Here are just a few examples.

Chewing: Even if you are only missing one or two teeth, chewing your food is going to become less efficient. It may also become more uncomfortable as food will become trapped in the gaps here your teeth once were.

Dental caries: The accumulation of food in the areas were teeth have been lost can, over time, lead to dental caries and periodontal disease.

Supra-eruption: If a tooth is not stopped by an opposing force (it’s upper or lower counterpart) it will begin to move outwards. These overgrown teeth will make it easier for you to accidentally bite your cheek or tongue.

Drifting teeth. If you have a gap from missing teeth, over time, the adjacent teeth will begin to drift into that space.

Overloading: Because your remaining teeth will have to do the work of a full set of teeth, they will become prone to extra wear and tear. There will also be more pressure on your jaw bones.

Collapsing face: You cheeks will collapse into the hollow spaces left by lost teeth.

Bone loss: Over time, you may experience deterioration of your jaw bone in the area where teeth have been lost.

Tooth Replacement Options

You may need a tooth (or teeth) replacement after an injury, because of tooth decay, or if you have had a tooth extracted. There are several different options for tooth replacement.

A Fixed Bridge

If your teeth are missing from an area that still has an adequate surrounding number of teeth that are strong and healthy, you may be able to have a fixed bridge inserted. For this to happen, the surrounding teeth must be reduced in size to make room for a prosthetic tooth (or teeth), which is then suspended between the adjacent teeth. This provides a functional replacement which has an average life expectancy of 10-12 years.

Dentures

Removable dentures may be full or partial. They can be used in place of a single tooth or all of the teeth from your upper and lower jaw. Dentures can help to maintain the natural appearance of your face and profile. When you first get new dentures, they make feel a little awkward for a few weeks until your facial muscles get used to them. Even if you wear dentures, you must still practice good dental hygiene.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the best solution for tooth replacement because they are permanent. During the procedure you will have metal posts surgically inserted into your jawbone were your teeth are missing. Over time, these posts will form a bond with the bone in your jaws, providing a solid foundation for the prosthetic teeth which will be attached to the posts. Dental implants can last a lifetime if they are taken care of properly.

If you have missing teeth that need replacing, don’t delay. It’s important that you seek treatment from an orthodontist before you missing teeth compromise your oral health and your overall health.

*This is a collaborative post*

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