SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Patients enjoy cosmetic procedures such as San Francisco teeth whitening and veneers to enhance their smiles. But tooth loss is another beast. Patients with missing teeth understand the physical and emotional effects of tooth loss. Dentists work hard to return patients’ smiles to their previous conditions, as missing teeth can hinder confidence and disrupt ideal bites.
Why Patients Experience Tooth LossThe typical American has at least three teeth affected by decay or completely lost, according to the American Dental Association. It’s clear that tooth loss is a real problem for American adults, but how are adults losing permanent teeth? There are several ways adults experience tooth loss.
Accidents are the culprits of many lost permanent teeth. A hard enough hit to the mouth or head can cause a tooth to come out immediately. Dr. Greg Larson urges patients to use custom mouth guards to protect their teeth while playing contact sports. Other patients lose teeth to decay and gum disease. An extremely decayed tooth will need to be removed in many cases. Patients can help prevent tooth decay with routine oral care, such as flossing, brushing and having routing cleanings with their dentists. Flossing is also extremely effective in inhibiting gum disease. Advanced gum disease deteriorates teeth and gums, and teeth can grow loose and come out. Routine dental exams can keep gum disease from advancing past gingivitis. Other patients have missing teeth due to radiation, extraction for orthodontic care or congenital disorders.
How Tooth Loss Influences PatientsTooth loss can distress patients in many ways. First, people with missing teeth may hesitate when they smile, and they make try to cover their mouths when they speak or laugh. Another aesthetic implication of missing teeth is that they age patients. People with tooth loss often look older than they are, and the facial tissues start to sag and distort their features. While these are generally aesthetic issues, missing teeth cause other oral health problems that may not be as obvious.
A lost tooth affects the surrounding teeth, gums and bones. Patients may experience added pressure to their surrounding teeth, and these other teeth may begin to move into the empty space. The movement of permanent teeth can negatively impact patients’ bites, affecting their chewing and speaking. The moving teeth may cause jaw pain and soreness in patients.
Missing teeth also make the jawbone susceptible to bone resorption. The Institute for Dental Implant Awareness explains that the lost tooth used to have a root that attached to the jawbone. When the root disappears, the surrounding bone has no anchor, and therefore the bone weakens. Dental implants will keep the bone from deteriorating, as the bone and the implant bond. The implant keeps the bone strong and healthy.
How Dentists Treat Tooth LossLarson, the best San Francisco implant dentistry provider, replaces lost tooth with dental implants. Oral surgeons place tiny titanium posts into the bone where the root previously lived. The posts bond with the bone, giving the bone support and hold the patients’ dental implants. Larson then uses a crown to cap the metal post. The crown effectively replaces the missing tooth, allowing the patient normal use of their teeth for biting and speaking.
Some dentists may suggest bridges to cover the empty spaces from tooth loss. Different cases call for different treatment options. Bridges effectively bridge the gap between existing teeth, hence their name. These replacement teeth are fabricated from porcelain or resign, and they blend in with patients’ original tooth shades. The crowns and bridges give patients reinforced bites. Patients whose teeth have moved may need alignment treatment. Larson offers Invisalign treatment to ideal candidates.
Many dentists offer options for sedation to keep their dental procedures completely pain and worry free. Patients who have lost a large number of teeth may benefit from dentures.
Tooth loss is unfortunate, but in many cases it’s preventable. Patients should take adequate precautions during contact sports and maintain excellent oral care to thwart tooth loss. Larson and his team have the knowledge and the technology to restore smiles to their former glory.