Most tooth loss is the result of decay, gum disease, or natural wear on the teeth. However, many people also lose teeth from injury or from cancer. It is estimated that 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, while 25 million people have lost the majority of their teeth. This is an oral health epidemic that very few people talk about and many see as a cosmetic problem rather than a medical one. However, a lost tooth can cause medical issues.
How Tooth Loss Occurs
Tooth loss can occur for many reasons, including poor diet, bad habits, and genetics. Substandard dental hygiene can lead to advanced tooth decay, which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. For patients under the age of 30, tooth loss is likely the result of injury during sports or accidents. Some tooth loss may be the result of poorly done dental work.
Age of Tooth Loss
Tooth loss can occur at any age. However, tooth loss due to natural problems (not injury) is more common in people over 35 years of age. On average, people between the ages of 35 and 50 are missing up to 7 teeth. This number only increases as more teeth are lost as one ages.
Why Your Teeth Are Important to Your Health
The structure of your jaw is reliant on your teeth and your joint (TMJ) for support. The sockets that hold your teeth allow for minor movement of the periodontal ligament, which stimulates the bone. When a tooth is lost, this stimulation no longer exists, and the alveolar bone can lose width, height, and volume. In fact, there is almost a 25% reduction in bone width within the first year of untreated tooth loss.
Effects of Bone Loss
Bone loss will continue to occur the longer you are without teeth. Within a few years, you will begin to notice structural changes in the jaw that will change the overall shape of your face. After a few years, you can begin to develop sunken cheeks as the tissues cave in from lack of support, which makes the face look older. Bone loss can also significantly impact your ability to eat and speak. The weakening of the jaw bone and tissues can also lead to other problems such as TMJ, acute pain, and loss of sensation.
Men and women who have lost several teeth will find it much more difficult to eat many types of foods, and patients who are missing teeth often have lower intakes of fruits and vegetables. The consequences of these nutritional changes can include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
Dental Implants to Replace Missing Teeth
In the past, many people used partial or full dentures to replace their missing teeth. However, this process only corrects the aesthetic problem of missing teeth and doesn’t address the health issues that can occur. Dentures don’t provide the stimulation the jaw bone needs to continue growth, and denture patients still experience many of the negative health effects associated with bone loss. In fact, full and partial dentures can actually harm the surround teeth and tissues. Dr. Sands recommends dental implants to all of her tooth loss patients because of their durability and overall health benefits.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant has a screw-like base that is placed by one of Dr. Sands’ surgeons, which then fuses to the bone. A custom crown is then attached to the base. Dr. Sands’ implants are crafted from titanium, gold, or zirconium and then covered with porcelain to match the surrounding teeth, depending on the aesthetics, the location of the dental implant, and the patient’s bite. Titanium implants are typically placed in the back because the stronger material can withstand the stress of chewing. Zirconium is often used for the front teeth to maintain the natural aesthetics of your teeth.
Dental Implants With Dr. Sands
Many doctors don’t have the proper training or experience to provide quality dental implants. Dr. Sands has spent years perfecting her dental implant technique because implants provide the most health benefits for patients, and they are the longest-lasting treatment for tooth loss
Dr. Sands’ dental implants are medical devices that can last a lifetime and have the greatest long-term value for your money. Dr. Sands uses a retrievable implant system. This system reduce failures and gives her the ability to change components in the implant system if need be without having to do the implant over again. All dental implant procedures are tailored to the patient with correction starting at the gum line. This comprehensive look at implantation helps provide a seamless transition and allows for implants to blend with your natural teeth.
It is important to replace missing teeth within the first year of tooth loss. For your dental implant consultation with Dr. Sands, call our office at (818) 306-5153 or contact us online.