Your teeth may be only a small part of your mouth, but they have numerous essential functions, from biting and chewing to speaking, and even providing you with a beautiful, confident smile. Tooth loss, even the loss of just one tooth, can significantly impact these functions, and your quality of life. Replacing your missing teeth is integral to giving you your life back. At Bryan Hill, DDS, we can restore your missing teeth with a variety of treatments, including a dental bridge
, or dental implants
What Causes Tooth Loss?
The most common cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease
, more commonly known as gum disease. It occurs in the advanced stages when treatments are not sought earlier. Periodontal disease occurs when plaque and oral bacteria build up in your mouth, irritating your gum tissue. Irritation leads to inflammation, which then causes the tissue to pull away from your teeth, forming pockets. Bacteria and food particles become trapped in these pockets, unreachable with a toothbrush and floss. There, bacteria doesn't only attack your gums, but your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone as well. These supporting structures become weak, and your teeth become loose. Eventually, the teeth fall out.
While periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss, there are other causes as well.
|Severe tooth decay, which can sometimes make tooth extraction necessary.
|Bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of your teeth.
|Facial trauma. If the teeth do not fall out as a direct result, some severe damage may require extraction.
What Happens When You Lose Your Teeth?
Several things happen when you lose your teeth. First, the most obvious effect is the impact that tooth loss has on the appearance of your smile. Gaps in your smile not only degrade the beauty of your smile, it can also lead to self-consciousness, causing you to hide your smile.
Along with the obvious aesthetic effects of tooth loss, the event can affect the basic functions of your mouth. Eating becomes more challenging, as you have more difficulty biting and chewing. This can lead to a limited diet, void of many of your favorite foods. Tooth loss also affects your speech, which can lead to miscommunication as others have a more difficult time understanding you. Under the gums, something else begins happening as well. The loss of your teeth, which have the responsibility of keeping your jaw strong, leads to a lack of bone stimulation. Without sufficient stimulation, fewer nutrients are sent to your jaw. Over time, the bone begins to grow weak and eventually changes shape. When this happens, your healthy teeth begin to shift out of alignment, throwing off your bite and causing other serious issues including uneven tooth wear and TMJ
Traditionally, tooth loss has either been addressed with either bridges or dentures. Today, dental implants offer a modern alternative. Dental implants consist of three basic parts, the titanium post, the abutment, and the crown.
|Titanium post. The titanium post is a small post that is surgically implanted into your jawbone. Your jawbone fuses to this post, essentially turning it into a root that is then used to provide support for your crown.
|Abutment. The abutment is also referred to as a connector, is placed at the top of the post, and is used to stabilize the crown.
|Crown. The crown replaces the visible portion of your missing tooth. Typically made from ceramic, this crown restores your abilities to bite or chew, speak, and restores the beauty of your smile. Ceramic looks just like your natural teeth, even mimicking the color and light reflection properties of enamel.
Versatility for Many Needs
Where traditional treatments have specific types of tooth loss that they can treat, dental implants are extremely versatile. They can be used to treat some different situations, whether you are missing single teeth, sections of teeth, or even an entire arch. There are several different types of dental implants.
|Single Tooth Implants. One post supports a single dental crown.
|Multiple Tooth Implants. Also commonly called an implant supported bridge, one or more implants are used to support two or more ceramic crowns.
|Implant Supported Dentures. This type of implant is used to replace an entire arch of teeth, whether it is the top jaw or the bottom. Your replacement teeth are supported by 6 to 8 posts.
|All-on-4. This type of treatment is used if you are missing an entire arch of teeth and you do not have sufficient bone mass to support the number of implants for a regular implant supported denture. 4 dental implants are used in this treatment, with two dental implants placed vertically in the front of the jaw, and the other two placed at 45-degree angles at the back of the jaw.
If you have suffered tooth loss, replacing your missing teeth is essential for restoring not only the functions of your mouth but the aesthetics of your smile and your quality of life. If you are interested in dental implants, call Bryan Hill, DDS today to schedule your consultation and find out if they are right for you at (509) 505-6303.