Posts for: November, 2016
People often put a premium on appearance when deciding whether or not to replace a missing tooth. There's more motivation to replace one in the “smile zone,” where the teeth are more visible, than one that's not.
But even if your missing tooth is in the back out of sight, there are still good reasons to replace it. That's because even one lost tooth can have a cascading ill effect on other teeth, the underlying bone or eventually your entire facial structure.
The chief problems caused by a missing tooth occur first with the bone. The act of chewing generates pressure around the teeth. The teeth transmit this pressure through the roots to the bone, which stimulates the bone to grow and remain strong in support of the teeth. When you lose a tooth, the bone no longer receives this growth stimulation.
In time, the replacement rate for older bone cells will slow down and cause the bone volume to decrease. It's possible to detect a change just months after losing a tooth: you can lose an estimated 25% of bone width in the first year.
As the bone diminishes, the jaw loses height and then more width. The gum tissues will also gradually decrease. As a result you may not be able to chew or even speak as well as you once could. Depending on the number of teeth you've lost, the foundational portion of the jawbone — the basal bone — may also decline. The distance between nose and chin may decrease and the cheeks sink in. Without bone support in the rear, the bite can collapse and push the teeth forward out of their normal position.
The best way to avoid this debilitating spiral is to replace a tooth as soon as practical. There are many options, but perhaps the best choice is a dental implant: not only will it provide a life-like appearance, but its affinity with bone will stop bone loss and even encourage new growth.
So, don't neglect replacing that “invisible” tooth if it's lost. Your mouth and ultimately your appearance will be better for it.
If you would like more information on tooth loss and restoration options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”
Increased awareness and oral health and hygiene treatments have made it possible for more and more people to keep most, in many cases all, of their teeth well into old age. But even with technological improvements to cosmetic and family dentistry services, gum disease is still a concern for many Americans, which is why your dentists, Dr. Megha Joshi and Dr. Achyut Joshi in Moreno Valley, CA, are here to offer you their help.
Although generally associated with aging, and more common in adults over the age of 60, periodontal disease can affect people of all ages. Gum disease ranges in severity from mild bleeding of the gums (early stage gingivitis) to full-blown periodontitis that can result in tooth loss and extreme inflammation of the gums.
The good news is that with prevention and early intervention, gum disease can be treated successfully. Treatment options generally range according to the severity and extent of damage to the teeth and gums.
Gum Disease Treatment in Moreno Valley
Gum disease develops when oral bacteria hardens into plaque and tartar, which causes swelling and inflammation of the gums. Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional dental cleanings help to keep the teeth and gums plaque free. But once it accumulates, a deep cleaning procedure by a dentist is necessary to remove it and clean the teeth and gums (a dental treatment known as root planing and scaling). The procedure is traditionally performed with manual dental tools.
Laser periodontal therapy uses modern, non-invasive dental lasers to separate the injured gum tissue from the root in order to remove all of the inflammation-causing bacteria and plaque. Laser gum therapy offers several advantages:
- Less invasive and typically does not require topical numbing agents or anesthesia (may be a good option for needle-averse patients)
- Minimal bleeding and irritation
- Better precision and accuracy
- Shorter healing and recovery period
Find a Family Dentist in Moreno Valley
For more information on the benefits of laser gum therapy and gum disease prevention and treatment for the entire family, contact the office of Megha Joshi DDS and Achyut Joshi DDS in Moreno Valley, CA, by calling (951) 247-2738 to schedule an appointment today.
Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!
If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.
If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?
As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.
And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!
If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”