Having cavities is one of the main reasons patients seek out the help of their dentist. Although you should go to your dentist regularly, many patients don't take the time for several reasons. However, it is difficult to ignore a cavity. It is not unusual for people to see their dentist because their cavity has…
Commonly Asked Questions on Replacing Lost Teeth
How do I go about replacing lost teeth? This is a common question in dental offices, as millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss. Advances in dental technology and procedures have given patients more options in dealing with tooth loss. But before getting into details on replacing lost teeth, you may be wondering some general questions regarding tooth loss and consequences.
How does tooth loss occur?
You can lose a tooth or teeth for several reasons. Injury, such as a slip and fall or trauma, is a common cause. Other times, tooth loss may be due to decay or uncontrolled gum and/or tooth disease. Staying vigilant with your daily dental hygiene and keeping up with dental visits can help delay this process. Finally, other conditions, including diabetes or a history of smoking, can lead to tooth loss.
What are the consequences of tooth loss?
Losing even one tooth can have significant consequences. Of course, aesthetically, one might find their smile less appealing and lose confidence. Moreover, a missing tooth or teeth can even impact speech, causing more confidence issues. From a dental standpoint, it can affect your ability to chew, cause undue stress or damage to your other teeth, and increase your likelihood of disease and infection. For these reasons, it’s important not to ignore tooth loss. So, what can you do?
What should I do after I lose my teeth?
Put: see your dentist. While doing self-research online can help you understand your options, there is nothing that can match the expertise of your dentist and their team. While the treatment decision is ultimately up to you, seeing your dentist will at least provide you with expert education on your options.
What options are there for replacements?
There are many options for replacing lost teeth, with pros and cons for each. The two most recommended treatment options are dentures and dental implants.
Dentures are an age-old, well-established replacement option for missing teeth. Of course, every patient is different. As such, a specific set of dentures needs to be manufactured for your needs. Removable dentures are a great replacement option, as they can help restore your confidence in your smile, speech and help support your dental health.
However, like with any treatment, there are cons. Dentures require attentive care. They are like your normal teeth and require daily cleaning to prolong denture life. Even with the best of care, dentures need to be replaced about every five years. Further, dentures are considered a less permanent fix compared to other options (e.g., dental implants) and not as sturdy.
Dental implants are becoming more popular every year. They are not dentures. You don’t take them in and out every day. Dental implants are intended to be permanent replacements for a missing tooth or teeth. In a same-day surgical procedure, your dentist will replace your tooth root with a small metal implant. You are replacing your root or anchor. Over time, your jawbone should grow around and hold the implant in place. After this, your dentist will affix a fake tooth on top of the anchor.
Many dentists highly recommend dental implants, as they are thought of as a permanent, lifetime solution. However, there are, of course, some cons. Notably, while the procedure itself is done in a matter of hours, the preparation and post-surgery care will require a lot of hard work on your part. It takes time for the jawbone to grow around the implant, and during that time, you need to make sure you are eating a proper diet, keeping good hygiene practices, and more.
There are additional options your dentist may discuss with you, including various types of bridges, flippers, and more. Again, you may opt not to address the tooth loss at all. Regardless, it is important to schedule a dental visit to hear more about your options.
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