Do you have one or more missing teeth? If the answer is yes then you know just how much missing a tooth can impact your daily life. Missing one or more teeth can make it difficult for you to eat the foods you enjoy. And, if it is noticeable that you are missing teeth when you talk or smile, you may feel self-conscious when you interact with others. There is no denying that having teeth missing can make life more difficult. The real question is what to do about your missing teeth. Two of the main options for tooth replacement are dentures and dental implants. The two options provide the same basic function – tooth replacement – but in very different ways. In order to determine which one is right for you, you need to learn what each has to offer.
Dentures are generally used in situations where a patient is missing most or all teeth. Dentures are removable and require a specific type of care that is different than your natural teeth. If you are already missing multiple teeth then dentures may be the best option. Losing teeth – for whatever reason – will also result in bone loss in your jaw over time. Serious bone loss in the jaw makes you much less likely to be a candidate for dental implants. Dentures take on the role of replacing the structure you lost with your teeth and restoring function. A well-designed and well-fitting pair of dentures can have you smiling and eating your favorite foods again.
Dental implants are a tooth replacement option that you can treat just like your natural teeth. The implant is placed into the bone of your jaw. Eventually, the bone and implant fuse together and create a strong root. Dental implants can do the work of preventing your jawbone from deteriorating like the root of your tooth used to do. The part of the implant above the jawline functions and looks like a natural tooth. A quality dental implant can provide you with a tooth-like replacement that lasts your lifetime.
Which one is right for me?
The right tooth replacement option for you depends on a number of factors. If you are missing multiple teeth – and have been missing them for a while – dentures are the most likely choice. The bone in your jaw will start to deteriorate over time after you lose a tooth. Dental implants need a certain amount of bone for implantation which means that bone loss can take away the option of dental implants. If, however, your gums and jawbone are in good shape, you may be a candidate for dental implants.
The decision about whether you should get dentures or dental implants is one that you and your dentist will make together. There are a number of different elements that impact this decision. But the first step is to schedule a consultation with your dentist to learn about your options.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in years the thought of going back can cause anxiety. If you have been avoiding the dentist out of fear or embarrassment those feelings can continue to get in the way of you getting the care you need. But sometimes the need for dental care can override those negative emotions – especially if you are in pain. If you haven’t been to the dentist in years there are a few things you can do to get back in the routine of getting the oral care you need.
Schedule a routine dental checkup
The first step to take if you haven’t been to the dentist in years is to schedule an appointment. You may have to wait a few days or a couple of weeks to get an appointment that works with your schedule. You can take that time to work through some of the issues that have been holding you back from going to the dentist all this time. The type of appointment you need to schedule is a routine dental checkup. Your dentist will need to assess the current condition of your teeth and gums before getting started on the process of fixing any issues.
Remember that dentists work with a wide range of patients
There are a number of issues that can hold people back from going to the dentist. Fear of pain and a general fear of the dentist are both common factors that hold people back. Some people are concerned about the potential cost of dental work. Another potential factor is embarrassment about the condition of your teeth. No matter what has been holding you back, it is very likely that your dentist has encountered patients with the same issue. Remember, dentists work with a wide range of patients including those who struggle with fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. Dentists are there to help and will be focused on helping you get your oral health back on track – and not on judging you.
Be open about the last time you received dental care
As you prepare for your first dental appointment in years, resolve to be open about the last time you received dental care. Tell your dentist the truth about your current oral care routine. Being honest about these elements will help your dentist identify ways that you can improve your oral health going forward.
Commit to going to routine visits from here on out
The final thing you should do if you haven’t been to the dentist in years is to commit to going to routine visits from here on out. You need to break the cycle of missing routine dental appointments. Before you leave your upcoming appointment, schedule the next one. This simple step can help you keep up with your routine dental appointments in the future.
Kids can learn in a number of different ways. If you want your kids to learn about good oral hygiene you can give them information to read or listen to from experts on the topic. You can also ask their dentist to emphasize the important of good oral hygiene during appointments. But, as a parent, the most effective way you can teach your kids about good oral hygiene is by modeling it for them. Your kids will see your actions in relation to oral hygiene and (hopefully) learn some good habits.
Talk about how the foods you eat impact your teeth
As an adult, you know that there are certain foods and substances that can have a negative impact on your teeth. Some foods make decay more likely while others can damage enamel when consumed in excess. And, there are foods that can provide important nutrients for teeth. Talk about these things around your kids. If you are having a piece of candy, mention the fact that you will brush extra well before bed to get rid of the sugar on your teeth. When you pile veggies on you plate point out how vitamin-rich foods are good for the health of your teeth. Making these connections between diet and oral health is a way to model good food choices to your kids.
Enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids
Every family has those nights or mornings when everyone is exhausted and it is tempting to skip the routine of brushing and flossing in favor of heading straight to bed or out the door. This is especially tempting when kids are in a stage where they fuss about having to brush and floss. These difficult nights give you the opportunity to model the true importance of consistent oral care. If you enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids – even on the tough nights or mornings – it can help them develop the habit of proper oral care in all situations.
Let your kids see you brush and floss
In order to model good oral hygiene to your kids you need to let them see you brush and floss from time to time. It is not practical to make this happen every evening when you go to bed later than the kids. But you can likely make it happen from time to time. There is a time during childhood when kids want to do everything like the adults in their lives – take advantage of that when it comes to proper oral care! Let your kids see your process, share your toothpaste, or get matching toothbrushes. Little things like this can model good oral hygiene to your kids.
Make the dentist a family affair
Going to the dentist regularly is an important part of proper oral care. You can share this fact with your kids by making the dentist a family affair. Find a dentist who can provide care to your whole family. You can schedule appointments in such a way that your kids see you making them a priority in your own life.
It takes time for a habit to really become established for a child. Modeling good oral hygiene is something you will need to do for several years for the habits to stick for your children. It is not a complicated process but it does require consistency.
There are a number of reasons why your oral health may get off track. Life is busy and sometimes the small oral care tasks you should do each day get neglected. Less frequent oral care tasks – such as getting routine dental checkups – can be easy to forget when they only happen a couple times per year. If your oral health got off track – for whatever reason – it is important to take the necessary steps to get it back on track. Poor oral health can lead to pain, illness, and tooth loss. Taking steps to improve your oral health can help you avoid the negative consequences of neglecting the care of your teeth and gums.
Improve the quality of your daily oral care routine
Daily routines can suffer over time if you are not intentional with your efforts. This is especially true when it comes to oral care. You have been brushing and flossing since childhood and it is easy to forget that the way you carry out those tasks impacts the quality of your oral health. How frequently you brush and floss as well as how you do each are important. If you skip out on brushing from time to time it can allow plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth. Flossing is an oral care task that many people allow to fall to the wayside. Skipping out on flossing altogether puts your gums at risk for disease and your teeth at risk for decay. If you want to get your oral health back on track you must establish and maintain a high-quality oral care routine. Brushing twice per day and flossing at least once are the bare minimum that you need to do to start properly caring for your oral health.
Go to a routine dental checkup
Routine dental checkups are an essential element of proper oral care. You cannot maintain high-quality oral health over the span of your life if you never go to routine dental checkups. During these dental visits you get your teeth cleaned, have plaque and tartar removed, and get checked for any signs of trouble. Routine dental visits can help you prevent issues and catch problems before they escalate any further. Going to a routine dental checkup will help you get your oral health back on track.
Follow through with necessary dental work
If your dentist finds issues during your routine dental checkup the next step is to follow through with the necessary dental work. Any type of dental work you need completed will have to be done during subsequent dental visits. It can be difficult to fit in additional appointments but if your goal is to improve your oral health, you must address issues such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth damage.