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Dealing With Tooth Loss

April 16, 2020
by

No matter how long you live, you need your teeth. Biting, chewing and smiling are a natural right, to be enjoyed even as you age.

Loss of a few extra pounds is good as a rule. Hair loss not so much. And loss of teeth—that used to signal disaster. There went your smile, your social life, and your career!

You may have been partly at fault for the neglect that allowed gum disease to take hold. Or you may have been blameless. No matter. Those teeth were gone, and no amount of fairy silver beneath an adult’s pillow was going to bring them back.

But there’s good news! We can replace missing teeth more easily and inexpensively than ever before and can repair receding gums without cutting or sutures and with little or no downtime required.

Modern dentistry offers a variety of options, and they’re as comfortable as they are natural looking.

Dental implants are the best tooth-replacement option for those who qualify, because they are rooted in bone just like your original teeth. The procedure involves setting one or more implant anchors into the jawbone. These metal roots, made of titanium, are strong, non-toxic, and biologically compatible with the mouth. What happens next is something we call osseointegration, where the bone actually grows into the implant. When the bond stabilizes, the root is capped with a natural-appearing replacement tooth— or multiple replacement teeth.  They’re not for everyone. You need a solid supporting jawbone and adequate gum-healing abilities. Insulin-dependent diabetics, smokers, or patients taking immunosuppressive drugs may not be good candidates for implants. But if your jaw bone will support the necessary osseointegration, implants can be the next best thing to natural teeth. Unfortunately, implants don’t always succeed in their new location. Implant recipients must commit to diligent personal oral hygiene, doing their part to achieve and maintain a healthy mouth. If you have the will to succeed, this step is easy—given all the new teeth-cleaning methods. Short of regrowing another tooth, a dental implant is the most exciting tooth-replacement option modern dental science has to offer.

But it’s not the only way to go. Crowns can still be the best choice when only part of a tooth is gone and the base of the tooth and its roots are in good shape. We offer same day crowns. We’ll prepare your tooth and fit the crown to cover the biting surfaces and sides of the tooth, binding it together for strength.

A bridge may be needed when one, two or three teeth are missing. A bridge of natural-looking artificial teeth can fill the gap. Crowns are fashioned for the natural teeth on both sides of where the tooth no longer is, then the crowns are cemented with a false tooth between them (called a pontic). Your own natural teeth are the anchors that give the bridge its structural strength.

When tooth loss is extensive, partial removable dentures may be the best course of action. They may involve fitting the artificial gum of the denture with clasps that fit around your remaining teeth for a more natural look and feel.

Replacing missing teeth is more than just restoring the joy of biting into an apple or an ear of corn. Putting teeth back where they belong protects existing natural teeth, restores speaking efficiency, and keeps facial muscles from sagging by offering support for the cheek and lips. And there’s another key benefit-enhanced nutrition often accompanies a full set of teeth.

You commit to regular brushing and flossing, and to scheduling regular dental check-ups. We commit to helping you choose the best option for you. No matter what you decide, the final step is yours alone.