The image we have of ourselves in our minds, our self-image, is directly affected by changes to our appearance. These changes can drastically alter the way we see ourselves, and put a serious damper on our self-confidence. Tooth loss has the ability to affect us in this way, and should be avoided at all costs. Being forced to hide your smile, to change your diet, and to generally feel uncomfortable meeting new people is no way to live your life. Especially today, when there are several options available to replace your missing tooth.
The changes tooth loss can cause in your appearance are only the tip of the “negative effects” iceberg, but that does not make them any easier to swallow. When a tooth is lost, the removal of the root of the tooth compromises the jawbone. Once the jawbone is compromised, it begins to lose density causing the face to sag and appear older. The loss of density can also lead to further tooth loss as the bone resorbs.
On top of jawbone issues affecting your appearance, which is bad enough by itself, tooth loss can cause tooth shifting. This occurs when a tooth is lost leaving an empty space. The remaining teeth shift over time to fill the space, and lead to misalignment problems and tooth damage. This may also contribute to a jaw disorder known as TMD, temporomandibular disorder, which causes headaches and pain throughout the jaw, neck, and shoulders.
It is clear that tooth loss is a serious threat to your overall dental health. Yet, sometimes an extraction is the only solution available to a patient due to the tooth being impossible to save, or the cost of treatment being beyond their current means. If this is the case, it is understandable that a patient would have to sacrifice the tooth for the greater good, but with today’s dental advancements and treatment options that missing tooth can be replaced to keep any more damage from being done.
Dental implants, with a 95% success rate, are the best option for tooth replacement available today. They function exactly as your natural teeth do, and with good oral hygiene and regular checkups they can last a lifetime. The success of dental implants lies in the fact that they replace both the tooth and the root. This keeps your jawbone sound while filling the space vacated by your lost tooth. Implants are made up of a titanium post that is implanted in the jawbone, and a porcelain custom-made crown that precisely matches the shape and color of your other teeth. Implants are also used to give dentures a more reliable, secure fit by providing support.
There are other treatment options available for replacing a missing tooth. Dentures provide a removable option that can replace an entire arch of missing teeth. They stay in place using suction and as perfect a fit as the dental professionals can achieve. Partials are also removable, but are only possible when the patient has healthy teeth remaining. They are locked into place with a clasp. Bridges area permanent solution that utilizes healthy teeth with crowns to hold a prosthetic tooth in place where your missing tooth once was. This is an excellent option for those missing a single tooth with healthy teeth to both sides.
At Smiles by Design, we understand the role confidence plays in the lives of our patients. We know how much it means to them to walk proudly with a smile on their faces, and we want to do all we can to ensure they feel that way every single day of their lives. So, if you are experiencing problems with your smile, or if you have had a tooth removed and would like to see what we can do to change your life contact us today!