For most adults, losing a tooth is an emotional issue. Tooth loss can create worries over appearance, subsequent tooth loss, worry of costs for replacement and maintenance, and chewing dependability.
Although tooth loss with age should never be deemed a ‘normal’ occurrence, it is fairly common. As with almost anything to do with the body, the ‘wear and tear’ over the years is a fact of life. Joints wear down, eyesight and hearing wanes, and some teeth can succumb to decades of use.
Teeth are living bone. As with the other bones in the body, they are hard and durable. However, teeth can fracture or break. Accidents or injuries can result in tooth loss. It is unresolved decay and gum disease that are actually the leading causes of early tooth loss.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 7 percent of Americans have lost at least one permanent tooth to decay by the age of 18. For the 35 – 44 age group, over two-thirds have lost at least one permanent tooth. By the age of 50, adults are missing an average of 12 teeth. And, 26 percent of adults ages 65 to 74 have lost all their natural teeth. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db197.htm)
The reason we advise crowning a tooth that is fractured, broken, or decayed to a certain extent is to avoid its potential loss. When a tooth must be extracted, it becomes a much more complex situation than just leaving an open space in your smile. Even a tooth lost where not noticeable when smiling can lead to significant challenges in the future.
The ultimate goal is to keep natural teeth healthy throughout a lifespan. With teeth, nothing is as good as that which was designed from birth to be a major player in your oral and overall health.
Yet, when they are lost, replacing them matters – a lot. Missing permanent teeth are associated with greater risk of decreased function and quality of life, disability and mortality, as well as chronic conditions, including:
Fortunately, the percentage of older adults with remaining natural teeth has increased over the years. This is likely credited to public water-fluoridation programs, reduced smoking rates and improved access to dental insurance. Yet, the American population’s understanding of the advantage of keeping natural teeth versus replacing them needs to become far more widespread.
Still, despite the commitment of many adults to keep their teeth and gums in good condition, teeth can sometimes require removal. In these instances, our Shelby Township dental office offers exceptional options to replace them, restoring a natural look, feel and function.
Crown & Bridge – In this option, a fixed bridge (a replacement tooth or teeth) is held by crowned teeth on both sides of the missing natural tooth (or teeth). With the supporting teeth crowned, the bridge is affixed for restored appearance and chewing ability.
With exceptional precision and using one of the nation’s most renowned dental labs, we provide beautiful, custom crowns and bridges that blend naturally with surrounding teeth. This provides patients with a natural look and feel as well as excellent longevity.
As a trained Neuromuscular Dentist, I design each crown and bridge for a balanced, healthy bite. By incorporating proper bite alignment, our patients can avoid future headaches and jaw joint discomfort that can result from improper crown height.
Although crown-&-bridge combinations are a common replacement option, they do come with a couple of disadvantages. One is in the decline of jaw bone mass. Without the stimulation that tooth roots once provided to the jaw bone, it declines in height. This can eventually reveal itself when a gap can be seen between the bridge and gums.
Crowns and bridges also need replacing periodically. Bridges can break and the supporting tooth (or teeth) are at higher risk for eventual treatment (or even removal).
Dental Implants – Implants are the preferred option for replacing teeth for several reasons. They are ideal for restored confidence when speaking, laughing and eating a healthy selection of foods. Each implant is positioned in the jaw bone, providing the same, sturdy foundation as that of natural teeth. This give then advantage of not requiring adjacent teeth to be crowned merely to support the bridge.
Another advantage is how one implant can often support more than one tooth. In many cases, a bridge of two or three teeth can be dependably attached. When all upper or lower teeth are missing, a full arch can often be supported with 6 or 8 strategically placed implants. This helps to contain treatment costs since the fees are largely based on the number of implants placed.
A dental implant, properly maintained, is designed to last a lifetime. The success rate of implants is excellent – up to 98 percent; higher than any other implant-in-bone success rate. Too, an implant will never develop a cavity, need a root canal or have detrimental effects on surrounding teeth. They are the closest thing to the look, feel and function of natural teeth.
There are over 40 dental implant types, each designed to accommodate specific needs and preferences. For example, for people who have experienced a great deal of bone decline, the All-On-4 dental implant system can be placed in minimal bone depth. Using unique angles and placement, these implants can bear the load of biting and chewing while helping to halt jaw bone loss.
The placement process for dental implants is performed while our patients relax in complete comfort. In our Shelby Twp dental office, placement is done while patients are sedated, either with oral sedation or IV sedation (“twilight sleep”). To facilitate proper diagnosis and placement, our Macomb County dental office utilizes advanced imaging technology to optimize treatment outcomes. Here, we provide all stages of implant treatment in one convenient location – from diagnosis to placement to the placement of your beautiful porcelain restorations (replacement teeth).
Partial Dentures – A ‘partial’ replaces several teeth, and is positioned on top of the gums. The teeth are held by a gum-colored base. In most cases, the partial denture attaches to neighboring teeth with the help of metal framework that wraps existing natural teeth. We design partials so they are secure and create an attractive, natural-looking means of restoring a smile and the ability to bite, chew and speak.
Full Dentures – When an individual is missing all upper or lower teeth, full dentures can be created to restore the presence of teeth. A full denture is a complete arch of upper or lower teeth, with the teeth attached to a gum-colored base. It sits on top of the gums, shaped to the upper or lower ‘ridge.’
The ridge is the raised arch in your mouth where natural tooth roots were once held. The gum-colored base of the denture is custom-made to conform to the unique contours of this ridge.
While a full denture can provide a comfortable, attractive way to replace teeth, problems can occur as the ridge begins to flatten. This is the result of bone resorption, which occurs when tooth roots are no longer present to provide stimulation to the bone. Bone loss can cause the denture to begin to move or “slip”, requiring more frequent applications of adhesive. We can also do periodic “relines” to reshape the gum base so it better fits the ridge’s reduced bone height.
In our Shelby Twp dental office, we have the skills and experience needed to provide every option to replace natural teeth with beautiful results. Your smile should instill confidence and be flattering to your appearance.
6044 24 Mile Road, Shelby Township
Call 586-739-2155 or tap here to request a free consultation. During this time, we will discuss your preferences in tooth replacement. If you like, our Financial Coordinator will be happy to meet with you during this time to discuss easy payment plans. Most of these are interest-free with no down payment required.
Regardless of the tooth replacement option you choose, rest assured that your treatment will be performed with precision detail and exceptional quality with your comfort always a priority. New patients are always welcome.