Sunday, July 23, 2017 16:50

The Consequences Of Losing Teeth

Posted by on Sunday, February 7, 2010, 15:55
This news item was posted in Dental category and has 2 Comments so far.

Patients are forever telling us that the extraction of one of their teeth was so difficult that “the dentist was sweating.” To explain this, the patient may have been told that he had “very long roots”.

It seems never to have occurred to these people that, in so many cases, a tooth that is so sturdy that the dentist had difficulty in removing it should never have been extracted in the first place! Although the percentage of Americans who lose all their teeth is declining, it is still far too high.

One of the major themes of this book is that most teeth should not be extracted. Yet it is also true that not every extraction is evidence of bad dentistry. Pain and infection are the two major reasons for tooth extraction, yet most teeth exhibiting these serious symptoms can be saved with root canal therapy, periodontal procedures, and antibiotics.

In dentistry, pain and infection are properly treated by removing the cause decay, nerve inflammation, or gum infection but not by extraction. Even in cases of severe decay, root canal therapy and a post, core, and crown can usually restore the tooth.

Sometimes the cost of such work is not worth the risk of the tooth later failing, but if a tooth is very necessary to the patient’s health, the good dentist will go to heroic lengths to save it. On the other hand, the dentist should hesitate to do elaborate work on a tooth of little importance.

There are legitimate reasons for removing teeth. Some teeth are so badly decayed they can’t be saved. Split or fractured teeth are often impossible to save. The saddest cases are teeth in excellent condition that have lost their supporting bone because of periodontal disease. Here again, there is little that can be done to save them.

If you’re looking for a dentist, be wary of the general practitioner who has built a reputation on the basis of his “painless extractions.” Remember, the extraction of a routine tooth is probably the easiest job in dentistry. The good general dentist, being in the business of saving teeth, is rarely called upon to extract a tooth. So steer clear of the neighborhood dentist who is “so good at extractions” and go to the one who so seldom finds them necessary that most of his patients aren’t quite sure whether he pulls teeth well or not.

After losing a tooth, what are the consequences? Usually the answer is replacement with a bridge . Many people do not understand why a tooth, especially a back tooth that can’t be seen, needs to be replaced. Patients almost always notice the loss of a tooth while chewing, but there are other considerations. The teeth are stabilized in their position by the neighboring teeth surrounding them.

When a tooth is lost the adjacent teeth usually start to shift, and this tilting can lead to cleaning and chewing problems that will affect the health of other teeth. As the spaces and chewing pressures on the remaining teeth change, the patient encounters difficulty eating with and cleaning the remaining teeth. Often periodontal disease starts around the tilted teeth because they are trapping food; this can also lead to an increase in decay.

The forces generated by biting become unbalanced so that additional stresses are placed on certain teeth. These pressures can damage the jawbone and the gums and lead to periodontal disease. These dire consequences don’t occur in every patient who is missing a back tooth. There are people who have had teeth extracted without replacing them and have suffered relatively little dental damage over several years.

Unusually favorable conditions in their mouths provide stability for the remaining teeth and prevent excessive drift. They often find that when they are older and less physically able to clean meticulously the slight shifting is enough to adversely affect their oral hygiene and oral health.

For most people an unreplaced extracted tooth results in a serious and potentially crippling dental future. Some good advice: Except in special cases as those mentioned above, do everything possible to keep your teeth. Even severely broken down teeth can usually be saved.

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2 Responses to “The Consequences Of Losing Teeth”

  1. Alex
    7 February, 2010, 16:42

    Love to know about Wisdom teeth, should they be pulled for the sake of it.. if they don’t hurt can you keep them?

  2. ENEamd
    8 February, 2010, 12:19

    Don’t bother them until they bother you.

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