As adults age, tooth loss is fairly common and becomes mores with age. Although the risk for tooth loss increases as we age, it is a common occurrence in nearly all age ranges.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 7 percent of adults in the U.S. have lost at least one permanent tooth by the time they reach the age of 18. For young adults in the 35 – 44 age group, 69 percent have lost at least one permanent tooth. That’s over two-thirds in this under-45 group. By age 50, adults have lost an average of 12 teeth and more than a fourth of adults ages 65 – 74 are totally edentulous (missing all natural teeth). (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db197.htm)
Replacing missing teeth is important for many reasons. When a smile reveals gaps where teeth are missing, it makes an impression on others that is anything but positive. In one study, 200 college-aged students were measured on social perceptions of individuals missing upper front teeth. In the study, the students (with a medium age of 21) rated photographs of people smiling. The photos ranged from those clearly having all their teeth to those missing as many as four upper teeth.
Each photo was rated on attractiveness, health, education, satisfaction with life, active social life, aggressiveness, intelligence, trustworthiness, friendship, potential of dating, and how likely they would be to have as a neighbor. In all social traits, those who had missing teeth were more negatively perceived than individuals with full smiles. The study’s participants gave the most negative ratings when considering having a personal connection to the individuals missing teeth, such as going on a date or having as a neighbor.
While the study indicated that missing teeth create barriers to personal and social success, the presence of teeth do much more than give a full smile. Of course, your teeth are important when it comes to biting, chewing and speech. However, each tooth also helps to support the teeth adjacent to them.
Helping neighboring teeth to hold their positions is important. A missing tooth allows the one above or below to grow longer. This can lead to chips or cracks as it interacts hazardously to teeth below (or above). The gap also allows the adjacent tooth to move out of its position, moving away from it’s neighboring tooth or tilting out of alignment.
What all this comes down to is the need for proper bite alignment. When teeth become misaligned because of open gaps in a smile, it can lead to stress or strain on the jaw joints. A tooth that is not replaced leaves adjacent teeth with a higher risk for loss and more vulnerable to decay, breaks and gum disease.
If you are missing natural teeth, whether your smile reveals it or not, prompt replacement is recommended for the well-being of other teeth as well as how you are perceived. For replacement, we advise dental implants as the closest thing to natural teeth. Because implants are positioned in the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots, they provide sturdy, dependable support for teeth that can bite and chew the foods you love.
We also advise them for their ability to recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone, halting bone loss. This enables the bone to retain mass while preventing (or greatly minimizing) risks to surrounding teeth due to bone shrinkage.
Our patients also appreciate the longevity of dental implants. When properly maintained, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. Plus, they’ll never need a root canal, fillings or relines (as with long-term wear of dentures or partials).
Dental implants work well for replacing any number of teeth and often, one implant can support a “bridge” of several teeth. For people who are missing all upper and/or lower teeth, 6 or 8 strategically placed implants can support a full “arch” of teeth. Because the cost of implant treatment is based on the number of implants placed, this minimizes the overall fee to a significant extent.
Another option for people missing all teeth is the All-On-4 dental implant system. This is ideal for patients with a limited amount of bone and/or limited budget. All On 4 is a non-removable option that maximizes the use of available bone through unique placement angles and implant design.
After placement, a new or existing denture is attached as a temporary set of teeth so patients leave with teeth in place – ready to smile, laugh and eat. Typically, in 3-4 months, the implants are secure and the final set of beautiful, porcelain teeth are permanently attached.
As a neuromuscular dentist, I also bring special skills to the placement of the teeth attached to your implants. With over 300 hours of advanced training, I am able to incorporate measures for proper bite alignment. Through this, your replacement teeth interact harmoniously with adjacent teeth.
For people who prefer a crown & bridge combination, these skills are also beneficial. With this option, we secure a ‘bridge’ of two or several replacement teeth, securely and properly aligned. Your final replacement crowns, bridge or implant ‘restoration’ teeth will be made of porcelain. Porcelain is one of the most durable, stain-resistant materials used in dentistry. This gives you a smile that has natural appeal and is created to provide the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.
In our Shelby Twp dental office, we provide all phases of Dental Implants in one location. Here, we make patient comfort a priority at every appointment, including total relaxation through Oral Sedation or I.V. Sedation (“twilight sleep”).
To help you achieve your oral health goals, flexible payment plans are available. These options can allow you begin treatment immediately and pay in easy monthly amounts that are manageable to most budgets. Most plans require no down payment and are interest free. Our Financial Coordinator will gladly discuss these options with you in more detail.
Regardless of your choice of tooth replacement, our dental office will surround you with some of the most advanced technology available in dentistry. You’ll be cared for by a team of skilled professionals, each fully commitment to respectful, compassionate care. We take great pride in the positive experience our patients know they’ll have.
Call 586-739-2155 to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to discuss your preferences in tooth replacement or any oral health need during this time. If you like, our Financial Coordinator will be happy to meet with you to privately discuss our easy payment plans.
Regardless of your smile’s needs, our Macomb County dental office provides a comprehensive care environment where comfort is always a priority. From cleanings to cosmetic dentistry, from dental implants to porcelain crowns, gum disease therapy or solutions for TMJ disorder, we are here for your every need.