Thursday, September 14, 2017

All I want for Christmas is a new front tooth

Everyone loves going to see the dentist, right?  Right?

Then again, maybe not; I could be wrong…  However the difficulties if you do not go are even more difficult to deal with.

But healthy teeth and gums are important for more than just a pretty smile.  Taking care of your mouth is vital to your oral health, your overall health, and especially your appearance.  Practicing good dental hygiene at home and with the assistance of professional care helps maintain that smile that you like to flash around.

Your oral health - This one is obvious.  The regular maintenance of your teeth and gums helps keep them looking good and feeling good.  And you should always pay attention to the warning signs.  Increased sensitivity to hot and cold food, hot and cold beverages, or sugar can indicate an issue.  And it is always better to get the issues fixed sooner rather than later.  Filling a cavity is significantly easier than a root canal or a dental crown.  This is truly a case of an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly are all keys to healthier teeth and gums.  Gum care is also critical to your mouth’s health.  Untreated teeth problems can lead to gum disease and vice versa. 

Your overall health - Not only can gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) cause mouth pain and discomfort, it can also can lead to even more serious health complications such as strokes, heart complications, diabetes complications and respiratory issues.  Also an important point to note, certain very serious health conditions can begin with signs and symptoms in the mouth, such as ulcers, swollen gums, and receding gums.  If you start to show any of these symptoms, it is most certainly time to visit your dental professional to see if there’s anything else going on.

Your appearance - No one really wants to have the smile that might be discolored, crooked, or gapped.  If you have ever had these or similar issues with your smile, you are well aware of how self-conscious it can make you.  And whether you realize it or not, your teeth also affect the size and shape of your face.  Have you ever seen an older person without their dentures in place?  Their jaw looks smaller, and their lips disappear without the support of the teeth.  The teeth do affect the entire face!

Your potential solution options

Besides pain and discomfort, the first visible sign of teeth problems is usually a cavity.  If you can catch it early enough, it can usually be fixed with a simple filling.  However, sometimes cavities can get too deep for a filling to repair.  More than likely, at that point you are facing crowns and possibly even a root canal.

If you do not get to the dentist quickly enough, the decay can spread and ultimately cause tooth loss.  One of the most difficult complications of not taking care of your teeth is the actual loss of a tooth.  Depending on where the loss is located, one of the main reasons people get dental implants is for aesthetic reasons.  But there are deeper reasons to replace those missing teeth.  Not only do most people not want a gap in their smile, but when one tooth falls out of the lineup, other effects start happening.

• The jaw bone underneath the missing tooth area starts to weaken without that support piece.
• The other teeth in the area are no longer held in place by the missing one.  They can start shifting around, causing further gaps and possibly even requiring orthodontia to correct.
• The general bite of your teeth and jaws can become affected, depending on where the loss occurs and how everything else overcompensates.
• There can even be an increased risk of losing the other teeth in the area because of the weakness and shifting.

Replacing the missing tooth is critical to maintaining the overall health of your mouth.  Quite honestly, the crowns that are used to complete the dental implant can even be color-matched to the rest of your teeth so that they just blend right in.  Dental implants can reduce or eliminate the effects of that missing tooth by filling in the gap and replacing the loss.

• It can aid digestion.  When you are able to properly tear and chew your food before swallowing, your body can more effectively and more efficiently digest your food.
• It can assist in speaking.  Whether you realize it or not, the teeth play a critical role in helping your speech patterns.  The way your tongue and lips and teeth interact affects the sounds that you make when you speak.
• It can make you look younger.  That really is not an exaggeration.  When one or more teeth are missing, especially in the same area, the face can look saggy or sunken in that area.  The teeth help keep the facial structure in place.
• It will help your feel better about yourself.  Sometimes we don’t even realize how much our teeth affect our self-esteem, until there is an issue.  When our teeth start to deteriorate, we don’t even want smile any more.  And everyone’s mood is improved when you smile.  To quote, “If you see someone without a smile, give them yours!”

Personally, I have had my own dental implants for over twenty years and love them.  I can’t imagine not having the teeth there, and I don’t want to imagine the damage that could have been caused by leaving the gaps.  My issue was that I did not have the permanent teeth, only the baby teeth.  I finally had them pulled and had the implants put in.

While it is not an easy procedure, completing the process of installing your dental implants will give you the confidence that you might have lost when you lost that tooth.  And having your tooth back is something to smile about!

This is a guest blog entry.

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