Below are some of the questions patients frequently ask Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
Click on a question below to see the answer.
Losing a tooth can be a very traumatic experience and it’s very unfortunate when it does happen. Injury, accident, fracture, severe dental decay, and gum disease are the major reasons for having to remove a tooth. If teeth are lost due to injury or have to be removed, it is imperative that they be replaced to avoid cosmetic and dental problems in the future.
When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone that helped support that tooth begins to atrophy, causing the teeth on either side to shift or tip into the open space of the lost tooth. Also, the tooth above or below the open space will start to move towards the open space because there is no opposing tooth to bite on. These movements may create problems such as decay, gum disease, excessive wear on certain teeth, and TMJ ( joint) problems. These problems and movements do not result immediately, but will eventually appear, compromising your chewing abilities, the health of your bite, and the esthetics of your smile.
Options for Replacing Missing Teeth:
Implants - Are a great way to replace one or more missing teeth. A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. An artificial tooth or crown is placed on the implant, giving the appearance and feel of a natural tooth. Implants are very stable, durable, and a very esthetically pleasing option. They can also provide great support for ill-fitting dentures.Removable bridges - This type of bridge is a good solution for replacing one or more missing teeth, especially in complex dental situations where other replacement options are not possible. They are usually made of tooth-colored, artificial teeth combined with metal clasps that hook onto adjacent natural teeth. Removable bridges are the most economical option for replacing missing teeth but can be the least esthetically pleasing. This is because the metal clasps on the appliances are often impossible to completely conceal.
Fixed bridges - This type of bridge is generally made of porcelain or composite material and is permanently anchored (cemented) to a natural tooth adjacent to the missing tooth site. The benefit of this type of bridge is that it is fixed (not removable), and it is very sturdy. The disadvantage is that in order to create a fixed appliance, two healthy, natural teeth will have to be crowned (capped) to hold the bridge in place. Bone loss will also continue at the site of the missing tooth. In addition, a fixed bridge requires more work to maintain proper hygiene of the site.
Dentures - This type of tooth replacement is used when most or all of the natural teeth are missing in one dental arch. Dentures are removable artificial teeth that are made to closely resemble the patient’s original teeth. Disadvantages are that they are removable and can be difficult to keep in. In addition, they have a less natural appearance.
Many people are unaware that having periodontal disease (the destruction of gum tissue and bone that hold our teeth in place) can affect your overall health. Periodontal disease is one of the most common infections - often more prevalent than the common cold! Periodontal disease is not only the number one reason people lose teeth; it can also affect the health of your body!
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, and in its earliest stages, it’s called gingivitis. It starts when an accumulation of plaque (a colony of bacteria, food debris, and saliva) is NOT regularly removed from the gums and teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins/acids that irritate and infect the gums, eventually destroying the jaw bone that supports the teeth. When periodontal disease is not treated it can eventually lead to tooth loss!
There are numerous studies that have looked into the correlation between gum disease and major medical conditions. These studies suggest people with periodontal disease are at a greater risk of systemic disease. They also indicate that periodontal disease can allow oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs, beginning new infections. Research suggests that periodontal bacteria in the blood stream can:
While there is still much research to be done in order to fully understand the link between periodontal disease and systemic diseases, research has shown that infections in the mouth can wreak havoc elsewhere in the body.
To ensure a healthy, disease-free mouth, we recommend the importance of regular dental check-ups and cleanings, which include a periodontal evaluation. Also, diligent home care and a proper diet can help reduce plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Remember the mouth body connection! Taking care of your oral health can contribute to your overall medical health!
We’re all at risk for having a tooth knocked out. More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year! If we know how to handle this emergency situation, we might be able to save the tooth. Teeth that are knocked out can possibly be re-implanted if we act quickly and follow these simple steps:
Ways to transport the tooth
The sooner the tooth is replaced back into the socket, the greater the likelihood it has to survive. So be prepared, and remember these simple steps for saving a knocked-out tooth.
You can prevent broken or knocked-out teeth by:
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