By the time we reach 14 years old, most people have all of their 32 adult teeth. It is important we take care of our teeth but as the years go by things happen. People lose teeth, teeth shift and aren't as straight as they once were and they can become discolored.
What Causes Severe Tooth Loss?
Severe tooth loss is having 8 or fewer teeth. A fourth of adults over age 65 have severe tooth loss. Having severe tooth loss makes it difficult to eat fruits, vegetables, and meat and can impact diet and nutrition. About 1 in 6 adults have lost all of their teeth.
The leading cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. This can lead to gingivitis, which is when the gums are red and swollen and bleed easily. If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is when the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth and forms spaces called pockets. These pockets become infected. The bones and tissues that support your teeth can be destroyed as the disease progresses until you lose teeth.
The good news is periodontal disease can be avoided by good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and checkups.
What Can Be Done About Tooth Loss?
If you have lost teeth or are unhappy with the way your teeth look, there are dental procedures that can help. Dental implants are an option for people who have lost one or more teeth. A dental implant is a small metal post that is placed in the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Once the implant has bonded with the jawbone, a dental prosthetic (artificial tooth) is attached to the post. Implants look and feel like natural teeth and they are a permanent solution to tooth loss.
Dental implants provide a beautiful smile and you can eat whatever foods you like.
Why Do Teeth Shift Over Time?
As people age, their teeth shift because the:
- Jawbone gets narrower and grows forward. This causes crowding in the lower teeth which usually changes the bite and then causes changes in the upper teeth
- Pressures of talking and eating
- Effects of teeth grinding or gum disease
- Teeth moving back to their natural position after having orthodontic work done.
What Can You Do About Teeth Shifting?
Invisalign or braces are good ways to help straighten teeth. To keep teeth straight after you have worn your Invisalign or braces is to wear the retainer and follow your dentist's recommendations.
If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist as they have ways to help you reduce the effects of teeth grinding.
Reduce risk of periodontal disease. Take care of your teeth by brushing twice a day, flossing, and having regular dental cleanings.
What Causes Teeth to Become Discolored?
There are many things that can cause teeth to become discolored such as:
- Drinking coffee, tea, red wine, or soda
- Smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products
- Eating certain foods like berries and curry
- Taking certain medications like antibiotics or antipsychotics
- Not taking good care of your teeth
What Can Be Done About Discolored Teeth?
There are dental procedures that can improve the look of your teeth. Teeth whitening is a popular dental procedure to make teeth brighter.
Dental Veneers Can Improve the Look of Your Smile. Discoloration, chips, and cracks can all be helped with dental veneers. Veneers are very thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They are custom-made to look like natural teeth. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than natural teeth.
If you want to have a nicer smile or if you want to improve your oral hygiene, talk to your dentist about which dental procedure would be best for you.
At Arnold Dentistry, we offer many solutions for a nicer brighter smile and a healthier mouth. Give us a call to make an appointment to get started on your new smile!