Archive for July, 2013

Tooth Loss: Causes and Treatment Options

Tooth loss can have devastating consequences. The aesthetic ones are obvious. A gap in the smile is noticeable and unattractive. More importantly, though, tooth loss has ramifications for your ongoing oral health, too. This issue can lead to bone loss and jeopardize the stability of the remaining natural teeth.

Dental implants can be helpful in cases of tooth loss, but first it’s important to understand the circumstances that may lead to this condition.

A tooth may be lost to advanced decay or gum disease that progresses to affect the underlying hard tissues of the mouth. Tooth loss may also occur as the result of a traumatic injury to the mouth or face. 

The best strategy for dealing with tooth loss is to prevent it in the first place.

The best strategy for dealing with tooth loss is to prevent it in the first place. Take precautions while engaging in activities that may result in facial injuries, like wearing a mouthguard during contact sports. Brush at least twice a day and floss every day, and visit your dentist twice a year to protect your oral health.

However, if you are unable to avoid tooth loss, dental implants represent an effective treatment option.

Implant dentistry offers patients a complete tooth replacement solution, rather than one that just replaces the crown. Obscured from view, the tooth’s root may seem to be insignificant to the smile’s appearance, but it actually plays an integral role.

Most importantly, the tooth’s root acts as an anchor that holds the jawbone in place. As a fill-in for the absent tooth root, the dental implant plays the same role. In the absence of such a structure, the jawbone will erode, possibly compromising the stability of surrounding teeth.

Compare this to a dental bridge, which is another possible remedy for tooth loss. A dental bridge consists of a pontic, or prosthetic crown, that is held in place by crowns placed on adjacent teeth. No part of the bridge replaces the root, so bone loss will occur. The adjacent teeth may be further weakened by the need to place crowns on them.

When tooth loss occurs, you have many treatment options. Patients should consider the long-term ramifications of whichever method they choose, and dental implants do well in this area.

To learn more about more about your options, contact Balcones Family Dental and schedule your professional consultation today.

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Do Genetics Play a Role in the Overall Health of Teeth?

Every story has two sides, and that includes your family history. If your parents, siblings, or other relatives have been impacted by cavities, premature tooth loss, gum disease, or an overbite, there is a great chance that you, too, will be affected by many of the same dental problems.

There is also a flipside to the scenario: Perhaps your grandmother kept all of her natural teeth throughout her lifetime, and your father has never had a single cavity. There is no guarantee that you will never have to face the consequences of a dental disease.

Fortunately, the story doesn’t have to end there. Your destiny is not written by your family’s previous dental experiences. Rather than letting the chips fall where they may, your dentist can help to make sure that you enjoy a healthy and bright future regardless of the path upon which you began.

Tooth decay and gum disease are two infections that are influenced by the presence of a particular bacteria. It is true that some families tend to display higher concentrations of a particular bacterium. This partially explains why some families seem to be plagued by cavities and others by gum disease or tooth loss.

If either of these conditions has been noted within your family, your dentist might suggest more frequent dental cleanings, additional fluoride treatments, or specialized periodontal therapy as a preventive measure. It will also be important that these patients are more diligent about brushing, flossing, and eating or drinking habits in order to control their oral health.

Small jaws, crowded teeth, congenitally missing teeth, and other orthodontic conditions can run along family lines as well. Patients who are able to trace a family history of orthodontic problems may benefit from a proactive or more aggressive treatment approach such as braces at an early age or orthognathic surgery.

For more about how your family history can influence, but not dictate, your dental health, call 512-200-7422 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Paul Lounsberry today.

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