Why Your Teeth are Worth Saving

 

 

To maintain healthy teeth and prevent future dental disease:

  use oral hygiene products that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance;
     
  brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste;
     
  clean between your teeth once daily using floss or another interdental cleaner
     
  eat balanced meals and limit the number of between-meal snacks;
     
  have regular dental checkups.
 

It's easy to take your teeth for granted unless you lose one of them. That's when you'd realize that you might not enjoy chewing food as much. Or it may become difficult to pronounce certain words. And if the missing tooth is up front, it may be embarrassing to smile or talk.

A missing tooth can affect more than your appearance - it can affect your dental health. One or more missing teeth can cause the adjacent

 

teeth to tip or drift into the empty spot. Teeth that shift from their normal position may decrease chewing and biting efficiency. Crooked teeth may be more prone to dental disease because they are more difficult to keep clean than properly aligned teeth.

A missing tooth also can affect the way upper and lower teeth fit together. For example, the loss of several molars may cause a "collapsed" bite. This increases the risk of damage to other teeth, such as fracturing.

Teeth are the strongest part of the human body and they are meant to last a lifetime. When a tooth is chipped, decayed, cracked or injured in some way, your dentist tries to save as much of the natural tooth as possible, restoring it so that you can continue to eat and speak comfortably. It is usually less time-consuming and costly to treat the tooth instead of creating a replacement with a bridge or dental implant.

Unlike past generations, tooth loss is not an inevitable part of aging. If you take good care of your teeth, the likelihood of saving them is, in most cases, high. Modern treatments and dental materials can help save damaged teeth that might have been considered 'hopeless' just a few decades ago. When disease or an accident results, it's good to know that there are options for saving your teeth.

When there is not enough tooth left to support a filling, your dentist may recommend a crown that covers, or caps, a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown may also be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from fracturing or restore a fractured tooth.

Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulp (a tooth's soft core) were extracted. Today, your dentist may be able to save such a tooth through root canal (endodontic) treatment. Endodontic treatment can safely and comfortably save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed.

 

These measures can help you keep your natural teeth and enjoy good dental health for a lifetime.

Treating Tooth Decay and Root Canal Problems Restorative materials are used to "fill" the hole that is left after your dentist removes the decay. Amalgam (silver) fillings, tooth-colored composite resins and glass ionomers are commonly used to repair decayed teeth.

Tooth-colored inlays or onlays may be used to restore teeth that are severely damaged by decay or wear. An inlay fits within the contours of the tooth. An onlay fits within the contours of the tooth and covers part or all of the chewing surface. The restoration is made from a mold or cast of the tooth.

When faced with a badly decayed, cracked or injured tooth, it's not uncommon for some patients to ask their dentists "Why not just take it out?" Although this may seem like a quick fix, in the long run, replacing the tooth may be more expensive and time-consuming than simply repairing it. Nothing can take the place of a healthy set of teeth and each and every tooth is important.

 
 

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