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The Hidden Consequences Of Losing Teeth

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Tooth loss among individuals is more than an aesthetic problem. Missing adult teeth can lead to a number of problems related to speech, health and daily eating. Thankfully, the dental industry has been able to cope with the growing challenges of tooth loss among the adult population. Dental patients now have better treatment options than they did before, and the results are longer lasting.

 Losing Teeth

What happens when you lose a tooth?

Teeth are part of your bone structure, and bones need stimulation to maintain their natural form and density. The constant contact that teeth make with one another as a result of chewing, talking and other activity provide this stimulation. When a tooth is lost, this stimulation is lacking and as a result the bone that support the teeth (known as the alveolar bone) begin to lose their density.

This causes subtle changes the overall facial structure of the person. The cheeks begin to look hollow and the chin rotates upward, giving an appearance of aging. The more teeth that are lost, the more the alveolar bone disintegrates and the jawbone becomes more prone to fractures. When too many back teeth are missing, bite collapse can occur. When the front teeth are pushed forward due to pressure from facial height or chewing.

FPDs Vs Dental Implants

Individuals suffering from tooth loss could have their missing teeth replaced by dentures. Up until recently, fixed partial dentures (FPDs) were the primary form of treatment employed by dentists. With FDPs, missing teeth were replaced by false teeth, supported by real teeth on either side which were crowned together. This would provide the patient with normal function in eating, smiling and talking.

The major drawback is that FDPs do not have a long shelf life. If they are not properly maintained they will need to be replaced in as little as five years.

Dental Implants
A dental implant is a device made of pure titanium designed to replace the tooth root. It fuses with the jaw bone, giving the support and stimulation that the bone needs, and a crown is attached to the implant. The crown can function and look like a real tooth. If necessary it can be removed without damage to the implant. Implants can work for those missing multiple teeth.

Research revealed that over a ten year period, dental implants were successful in 99 percent of patients. During that same period, 20 percent of patients with fixed partial dentures needed replacement after three years and 50 percent after ten years. Based on these figures, it can be argued that implants are more effective as replacement for missing teeth. Not only do they last longer, they actually help to stop bone loss.

However, each case is different. The best treatment option available to a patient depends on their particular circumstances, therefore it is necessary to talk to your dentist to decide which (if either) is the best treatment option for you.


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