Everyone knows the classic Christmas song of a young, hopeful girl wishing for her two front teeth to finally grow back. It’s sweet because she thinks they will never grow back, but we know that in time, her adult teeth will come in and all will be well with the world. Unfortunately, losing a tooth as an adult is not so easy and has no guarantee of a new one taking it’s place naturally. No longer can you say “Sister Susie Sitting on a Thistle!” Santa will not be bringing your brand new pearly whites back.
So what should you do when you lose an adult tooth?
Lost Tooth – First Response
Your first reaction when losing an adult tooth is to pick it up as soon as possible. But wait! You must make sure that you don’t pick up the tooth by the root, but rather the crown (the part that is always exposed). A damaged root means the dentist will not be able to repair whatever tooth may be left. Treat the tooth with care and immediately sterilize it with saliva, whole milk, or a sterile solution.
Believe it or not, dentists suggest replacing the fallen, sterilized tooth as soon as possible to the socket. This preserves the root and gives the dentist a better chance of reimplanting the tooth. Try to get to the dentist as quick as possible in order to avoid nerve or tooth damage and save your socket from total destruction.
The longer you wait to visit the dentist, the worse your missing tooth situation will be. After losing an adult tooth, your bones in your mouth and along your jaw begin to recede. Long periods of deterioration can lead to collapsed gum and an improper bite. To combat bone recession, there are three main types of replacements available.
1.Removable Bridge or Denture
Removable dentures are available in partial and full mouth restoration options and can be taken in and out as necessary for eating and sleeping. They fit over the gums as a cover to protect the remaining teeth and bone from drifting. Many people choose removable dentures due to their low price and relatively easy initial fitting. Unfortunately, dentures have to be refitted every 5 to 10 years as the bone continues to decay and the dentures get loose or pop off.
A more permanent solution to tooth loss are dental bridges. Usually these are used for isolated incidents of one or two missing teeth. Essentially, a bridge is a fake tooth that is bonded to the adjacent teeth which are crowned in order to mold to the bridge. The major downfall with this option is that it requires a hole to be drilled through the surrounding teeth, which may otherwise be perfectly healthy. Although bridges are preferred to dentures for their permanence, keeping the area around the bridge clean can be very difficult and must be closely managed.
One of the best, and most permanent, solutions to missing teeth is dental implants. The procedure drills a metal root straight into the remaining bone in order to stabilize the tooth, instead of relying on support from other teeth, like bridges. After a crown is placed on top of the metal root, the implant acts as a normal adult tooth which can be brushed and flossed without extra effort. In the case of multiple missing teeth or those who no longer wish to wear dentures, there are bridged dental implants that root in 4 to 8 places depending on the amount of missing teeth. Not only is the solution more permanent, but it requires less bone grafting than other implant or bridge methods.
If you or someone you know is in need of teeth replacement, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas to set up an appointment. Whether you need one replacement or a full mouth rehabilitation, our dentists have the skills and resources to bring your smile back to life.