Don’t Let One Lost Tooth Cost You The Rest
- February 9, 2016
Humans can do a lot of things, but animals can do a lot of them better.
We can’t fly like birds or bats. We can’t jump as high or as far as kangaroos, and we can’t come close to running as fast as cheetah.
Even so, if we could pick any animal ability, it would be the alligator’s ability to regrow its teeth up to 50 times during its lifetime. (Maybe it’s because we are dental professionals. Teeth are important to us.)
Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this? Then, we could just pull out a bad tooth and wait for a new one to come in, like your hair or your fingernails do when you cut them.
In fact, scientists are studying alligators right now in hopes of figuring out some way for humans to do this, too.
If that breakthrough does happen, it will be a historic event. Until then, our team at Gentle Dental Care will continue offering dental implants for our patients in and around Plainville, CT.
Dental implants might not be the same thing as regrowing a missing tooth, but they are the next best thing.
Why You Should Care About Missing Teeth
With proper care, many people do keep all their teeth throughout their lives. Yet, the average person in the United States will lose some teeth at some point.
A full set of adult teeth contains 32 teeth. As you may know, many people have their wisdom teeth removed without any consequences to their oral. Even if we use 28 teeth as our starting point, you may be surprised to learn how common tooth loss is in the USA.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research:
◆ Adults age 20 to 34 have an average of 26.9 teeth
◆ Adults 35 to 49 have an average of 25.05 teeth
◆ Adults 50 to 64 have an average of 22.3 teeth
As you can see, tooth loss is more common as people get older, which is understandable. The older you are, the more wear and tear you put on your teeth.
Smoking is another big factor that increases your risk of tooth loss.
◆ Current smokers (20 to 64 years old) have an average of 23.47 teeth
◆ Former smokers have an average of 25.12 teeth
◆ People who never smoked have an average of 25.67 teeth.
Again, you can see how common tooth loss is, and the data also shows how unhealthy habits can increase our risk.
How Bad Is One Missing Tooth?
It also depends on what you do about it. What if you do nothing? If you decide it’s just one tooth, what can happen?
The first thing you may notice is a difference in your ability to bite and chew your food. All of our teeth have specific functions, and losing any one of them can affect how and what we can eat.
Depending on which tooth you lose, you may have a big gap in your smile, and your ability to pronounce some sounds and words could be affected. (Just think of the song “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” to understand what we mean.)
Below your gumline, something worse may be happening. When you lose a tooth, you start losing bone density in that part of your mouth. Within 12 months, you could lose 25 percent of the bone mass where you used to have a tooth.
Continued bone loss could cause the adjacent teeth to come loose and fall out. At that point, your bone loss will only get worse and spread further.
It may not happen overnight, but a single lost tooth could cost you every tooth in that arch over time.
Keep Your Teeth With Dental Implants
Dental implants can stop your bone loss in its tracks.
Implants replace the roots of missing teeth in more ways than one. Implants fill the space that your lost teeth once occupied, and they stimulate new bone growth. This keeps your bone healthy, which is good for any adjacent teeth, too.
By fitting your implant with a dental crown, your artificial tooth will provide added support for the teeth around it. This will preserve your smile and your ability to eat all the foods that you enjoy.
Don’t Let One Tooth Become A Bigger Problem
If you have lost a tooth or you lose one in the future, act quickly to protect the teeth you have left. A dental implant is the best way to restore the appearance of your smile and to maintain a healthy mouth.
To make an appointment at our dentist office in Plainville, fill in our online form or call us at 860-479-2397.
Your smile matters to everyone at Gentle Dental Care, and our dental implants can give you a reason to keep smiling.