Tooth loss is a problem that affects many seniors—and since May is Older Americans Month, this is a good time to talk about it. Did you know that more than a quarter of adults over age 75 have lost all of their natural teeth? This not only affects their quality of life, but poses a significant health risk.
According to a study in The Journal of Prosthodontics, significant tooth loss is associated with increased risk for malnutrition—and also for obesity. If this seems like a contradiction, consider that when you have few or no teeth, it’s much easier to eat soft, starchy foods of little nutritional value than it is to eat nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables.
That’s just one reason why it’s important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. There are several ways to replace a full set of missing teeth including removable dentures, overdentures, and fixed dentures.
Removable dentures are the classic “false teeth” that you put in during the day and take out at night. Dentures have come a long way in terms of how convincing they look as replacement teeth, but they still have some disadvantages: For one thing, they take some getting used to—particularly while eating. Also, wearing removable dentures can slowly wear away the bone that they rest on. As that bone gradually shrinks over time, the dentures cease to fit well and require periodic adjustment (re-lining).
Overdentures are removable dentures that hook onto a few strategically placed dental implants, which are small titanium posts placed in the bone beneath your gums. Strong and secure, implants prevent the denture from slipping when you wear it. Implants also slow the rate of bone loss mentioned above, which should allow the denture to fit better over a longer period of time. But overdentures, too, are not meant to be worn all of the time.
Fixed dentures are designed to stay in your mouth all the time, and are the closest thing to having your natural teeth back. An entire row of fixed (non-removable) replacement teeth can usually be held in place by 4-6 dental implants. Dental implant surgery is an in-office procedure performed with the type of anesthesia that’s right for you. After implants have been placed and have integrated with your jaw bone—generally a period of a few months—you can enjoy all of your favorite foods again without worry or embarrassment.
IT’S NOT JUST A Dental CLEANING !
Most people call dental hygiene appointments “dental cleaning appointments.” A hygiene appointment, also called recare appointment, is more than just teeth cleaning.
Some people ignore or miss hygiene appointments and visit the dentist only when they have dental pain. Your visit to the dentist is not just about treating cavities or managing pain. Besides, when it hurts, you often need costly and aggravating treatment. The key to good oral health is prevention.
Did you know that many cavities and signs of gum disease can only be revealed by x-rays and comprehensive dental examination?
Did you know that bleeding gums can be a key early warning sign for over 20 serious medical disorders, including diabetes, heart disease, lymphomas, and cancers of the colon and other organs?
In fact, there are many reasons why your hygiene visit “is not just teeth cleaning.” During your hygiene recare visit, we do the following for you:
- Take x-rays to check for decay on the sides of the teeth and for bone health.
- Check your teeth for cavities,
- Check your existing restorations for leaks or cracks,
- Check you gum around every tooth to exclude gum disease,
- Check your teeth for shifting or mobility,
- Check your TMJ for any signs of stress or dysfunction,
- Do an oral cancer screening for the mouth and surrounding areas,
- Check your mouth for any signs of systemic diseases,
- Remove plaque, tartar, and stains form your teeth above and under the gum line,
- Review your oral hygiene and home care habits.
- Check your smile, and the color of your teeth for enamel staining.
During your preventive dental visit, all findings are recorded. We discuss the results of assessments and answer your questions. Every finding recorded can play a role, not only in maintaining good oral health, but can be related to your total health.
Therefore, you do not want to miss your hygiene recare appointments. Schedule your next hygiene appointment before leaving our office. Do not put off your next hygiene appointment. The evaluations and services we do during your hygiene appointment can prevent future serious and more expensive problems.
The month of May has been designated “Better Speech & Hearing Month” by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Why would this be of interest to dental professionals? Because teeth are vital for good speech, and missing teeth can make it very hard to speak properly.
Speech is all about sounds, and forming sounds correctly requires proper positioning of oral structures such as the lips, tongue and teeth. For example, there are some words that are almost impossible to pronounce correctly without touching your tongue to your teeth. In fact, one of the hardest words to say without teeth…is teeth!
Missing teeth can affect speech indirectly as well, by reducing self-confidence. People who are missing front teeth often develop the habit of talking behind their hand or mumbling to avoid revealing the gap in their smile. Not being able to speak clearly and confidently can affect not only your appearance, but also your job prospects and social life. So what can you do about missing teeth?
Dental implants are today’s preferred tooth-replacement method. Implants are small titanium posts that are inserted in the jaw bone beneath your gums. They serve as “roots” to hold realistic-looking prosthetic (artificial) teeth in place. Implants can be used to replace one tooth, a group of teeth, or an entire row of teeth (upper or lower). Sometimes a dental implant can be placed the same day a failing tooth is removed so that you won’t need a second surgical procedure.
The healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap can also be used to support one or more replacement teeth. This method, called bridgework, can be used to replace a single tooth or several teeth in a row. Another option is removable dentures, which do not stay in the mouth all the time.
Each of these options has its benefits and risks. We’d be happy to discuss all of them in detail and help you decide which would be best in your own situation. To learn more about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can also read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “New Teeth in One Day.”
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
تخيل فقدان بعض أو كل أسنانك العلوية و ما يسببه هذا من صعوبة في التحدث أو الأكل ، وابتسامة محرجة. لحسن الحظ ، هناك العديد من الخيارات لتعويض الأسنان المفقودة. وتشمل هذه الخيارات الجسور الثابتة ، أطقم الأسنان ، وزراعة الأسنان. كل خيار له مزاياه وعيوبه.
هذه البدائل القابلة للإزالة بمعرفة المريض تمتد أيضا على مساحة الأسنان المفقودة. يستبدل الطقم الكلي كامل الأسنان المفقودة في أحد الفكين ويرتكز على اللثة أويثبت على زرعات الأسنان . الأطقم الجزئية تحل محل سنة واحدة أو بضع الأسنان المفقودة وتثبت بالأسنان الأطقم الجزئية بالمشابك.في الأسنان على جانبي الفراغ. أطقم الأسنان تصنع من البلاستيك المعلق على قاعدة بلاستيكية. عادة ما تكون أطقم الأسنان القابلة للإزالة هي البديل الأقل تكلفة لتعويض الأسنان المفقودة. يمكن دعم معظم أطقم الأسنان القابلة للإزالة عن طريق زراعة الأسنان مما يجعلها أكثر استقرارًا و وجود زرعات الأسنان يمنع انكماش العظام تحت طقم الأسنان.
هذه البدائل الثابتة تملأ مساحة الأسنان المفقودة. يتكون الجسر الثابت من الأسنان المستعاضة مثبته بتيجان على كل جانب. و تحتاج تيجان الأسنان الى اسنان على جانبي الفراغ خالية من أمراض اللثة و محاطة بقدر كافي من العظام. يتم لزق التيجان بالأسنان على جانبي الفجوة المتسببة من فقد الأسنان. كما يمكن تثبيت هذه التيجان على زرعات أسنان. ولأن التيجان الثابتة تلزق بالأسنان فانه لا يمكن للمريض ازالتها. الجسور الثابتة يمكن أن تكون مصنوعة من المعدن المغطى بالخزف أو من الزركونيا الخالية من المعدن.
زرعة الأسنان هي جذر تيتانيوم صغير يوضع في العظم تحت اللثة. يتم استخدام الزرعة لدعم جسر ثابت أو طقم أسنان قابل للإزالة. عادة ما تكون زراعة الأسنان هي أغلى بديل لتعويض الأسنان المفقودة. كما تحتاج زراعة الأسنان الى كمية كافية من عظام الفك لتثبيت الزرعة. ولكن لزراعة الأسنان العديد من المزايا. فتبدوالأسنان المستعاضة بشكل أقرب للطبيعي. كما تمنع زرعات الأسنان انكماش عظام الفك.
يسعدنا مناقشة الخيار المناسب لك. إذا كان لديك أسئلة حول استبدال الأسنان ، يرجى الاتصال بنا أو تحديد موعد لاستشارة مع طبيب الأسنان الدكتور ياسر السويفي.
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