Let’s begin by taking a little quiz.
Do you think the leading cause of tooth loss in American adults is:
a) Tooth decay,
b) Sports injuries,
c) Gum disease, or
d) Car accidents?
While these factors contribute to the approximately 178 million U.S. adults missing one or more teeth, advanced gum disease is responsible for the highest volume of lost teeth. Unfortunately, many people resign themselves to tooth loss as they age and accept the reduced quality of life associated with missing teeth as inevitable. This simply is not the case. Dr. David Zelby, a respected Atlanta dentist and prosthodontist, discusses some health problems associated with adult tooth loss, proven methods for keeping your teeth as you age, and advice for helping people live life to the fullest after tooth loss.
Health Problems Associates with Missing Teeth
Whether you have lost one or two teeth or you don’t have a single tooth left in your mouth, you will probably have to deal with one of a number of associated health problems:
- TMJ dysfunction: Even a single missing tooth will encourage your remaining teeth to move out of alignment. As your teeth shift, it can place extra stress on your jaw joints (the TMJs), causing pain, aches, ringing in the ears, popping and clicking sounds, and a range of other symptoms.
- Increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease: As your remaining teeth shift in the dental arch, they create tight or overlapping spaces that are hard to clean with normal brushing and flossing. As plaque builds up, your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease go up as well.
- General poor health: People with no remaining teeth have to eat a restricted diet of soft foods. This greatly limits the variety and quantity of nutrients they consume, resulting in poor overall health and increasing the chances of developing systemic disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How to Keep Your Teeth for Life
In all honesty, no one can guarantee you will keep your teeth for life. However, Dr. Zelby asserts that you can greatly increase your chances by making the following four behaviors into regular habits:
1) Brush your teeth at least two times every day for two minutes at a time.
2) Floss every day just before bedtime.
3) Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
4) Reduce the amount of sugary drinks and foods you consume.
Restoring Smiles, Restoring Health
If you have already lost a tooth or having been living with a gummy smile for years, your Atlanta prosthodontist (that’s a dentist who specializes in creating replacement teeth) can offer a variety of options for filling in the gaps in your smile. Traditional options such as bridgework and partial or full dentures can restore your ability to speak normally and enjoy a variety of nutritious foods. Dr. Zelby suggests people with missing teeth also look into dental implants, the new gold standard of tooth replacement options. Dental implants function like natural tooth roots and can be topped with porcelain crowns to replace one or two missing teeth. Dental implants can even support a full set of dentures!
Restoring Atlanta’s Smiles
If you have one or more missing teeth and want to learn how dental prosthetics can return your quality of life, call Dr. David Zelby at (770) 955-0550. Dr. Zelby and the expert team at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta can return your smile to optimal health, function, and beauty. Our Atlanta dentist office proudly serves patients in Marietta, Smyrna, East Cobb, Buckhead, Vinings, and Metro Atlanta.