According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 7% of people in the U. S. have lost at least one permanent tooth by the age of 18. For those ages 35 – 44, a whopping 69% have lost at least one permanent tooth. By the age of 50, American adults are missing an average of 12 teeth. And, 26% of adults ages 65 – 74 have lost all their natural teeth.
Teeth are lost due to accidents, cavities, gum disease, fractures in teeth or a tooth that breaks below the gum line. No one wants to have a natural tooth removed. Replacing it quickly is often a priority.
Yet, there is often a misconception when it comes to replacing a tooth. Although you can recreate the presence of a tooth, the absence of tooth roots below the gum line sets into motion a sequence of events.
Replacing missing teeth is important, for many reasons. Certainly, when a gap is present due to a missing tooth (or teeth), a smile’s appearance is greatly flawed.
The presence of teeth also has a great deal to do with proper biting, chewing, and speech by supporting the teeth around them. As each tooth keeps the teeth on either side in position, the tooth above or below also help to keep them at a proper height.
The importance of teeth in appearance, eating and speaking is obvious. What is often overlooked, however, is how significantly a tooth’s roots have an important role in one’s overall oral well-being.
Each tooth is supported in the jaw bone by its roots, which are like prongs embedded in the jaw bone. Smaller teeth have just one or two prongs while larger teeth have three or four.
The root segments have a very different part than the portions of teeth visible above the gums. Each prong contains a chamber that holds tissues made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective fibers. They not only help to keep the tooth ‘alive,’ they nourish the jaw bone that supports the roots, providing stimulation that helps the bone to maintain its mass.
When teeth are removed, the portion of the jaw bone where tooth roots were once held undergo a process known as ‘resorption.’ This term describes the shrinking or declining mass of jaw bone – again, due to the lack of nourishment and stimulation once provided by tooth roots.
The upper jaw bone (maxilla) and lower jaw bone (mandible) thrive on the presence of the tooth roots they hold. Without this, the bones no longer receive the nourishment and stimulation the tooth roots were intended to provide. This is what leads to resorption.
Bone loss begins slowly the first year after tooth removal, but accelerates with each passing year. The pressure on the gums from wearing a denture speeds up the pace of bone loss more. For those who sleep in their dentures, this 24/7 pressure on the bone amps up the rate even further.
For this reason, long-time denture wearers struggle to bite and chew comfortably, often forgoing foods that will cause uncomfortable rubbing. Dining with friends can be overshadowed by the fear of embarrassing slips.
The solution? Dental implants halt the progress of bone loss.
However, for a successful outcome, they must be implanted into bone mass that adequately supports them. In the past, lack of bone depth could necessitate the need for a bone graft. This was often taken from a small portion in the hip. Today, there are less complex options, including the application of a bone rebuilding material.
Today, there are also certain dental implant system designs that can accommodate the placement of implants in shallow bone. For example, the unique design and placement angles of the All-On-4 dental implant system can support a full arch of teeth using just four implants.
Replacement teeth attached to All On Four dental implants are non-removable, restoring biting and chewing stability. Laughing and dining with friends are no longer shadowed with worrisome slips or clicks.
And, for those who are missing just one or several teeth, dental implants are ideal in supporting the health of remaining teeth. Unlike a crown-&-bridge combination, dental implants actually protect the integrity of adjacent teeth.
Crowning natural teeth on each side to support a ‘bridge’ forever alters the structure of the crowned teeth, which become anchors to the bridge. However, a dental implant can often support a bridge without the need to crown otherwise natural teeth. And, because the replacement teeth are held by a dental implant in the jaw, they enjoy the same dependability of natural teeth.
In our Shelby Twp dental office, the teeth attached to dental implants are typically made of porcelain. Porcelain is one of the most durable, stain-resistant materials used in dentistry and provides exceptional longevity.
Learn more about dental implants at: DrBarbatDentalImplants
Too, our Macomb and Oakland County dental implant patients enjoy having all stages of implant treatment in one, comfortable location. Because we are known for providing exceptional comfort (at every appointment) – backed by advanced technology – our dental implant patients receive optimal care throughout all phases of treatment. Oral and IV sedation (sleep dentistry) are available.
Learn more about our comfort options at: DrBarbatComfort
Learn more about our advanced technology at: DrBarbat_AdvancedTechnology
As a neuromuscular dentist, I bring special skills to the integration of dental implants into bite alignment. This helps our dental patients avoid the potential hazards of misalignment, which can contribute to TMJ (jaw joint) disorders.
TMJ-related problems include frequent headaches, jaw joint pain or clicking, ear ringing, dizziness (or vertigo), broken or chipped teeth, and night-time clenching and/or grinding. A neuromuscular dentist can take proactive measures to help patients avoid these problems from developing in the future.
For a complete dental office with all services in one location, with a reputation for comfort, call 586-739-2155 for a free consultation or tap here to begin. I also invite you to get to know our Shelby Township dental office through this brief video: