Fortunately, we are getting better every day at saving teeth. The Baby Boomer generation is aging with more teeth in their heads than any previous generation. This is a good thing.
I could go on and on about how studies show that more natural teeth equals better health. Premature tooth loss, especially due to gum disease, has been linked to all sorts of health conditions from Alzheimer’s to diabetes to heart disease. Simply put, there is a lot of evidence out that links a healthy mouth to a healthy body.
The truth is, oftentimes, nobody cares what the books say. We all know that smoking causes cancer, but tobacco companies seem to still be in business. A triple cheeseburger with extra bacon and a bucket of fries is good for nobody, but there sure are lots of combo meals sold.
So let us take another route in regards to tooth loss. Let’s accept that we all understand that healthy mouths are good and that we should maintain our natural teeth. Then, let’s go a step further and appeal to a great motivator…vanity. What could losing teeth mean to your looks?
Tooth loss, and the related bone loss, decreases the distance from the tip of one’s chin to the base of one’s nose (we call this the lower face height). From here, there is a cascade effect. The lips become thinner and wider. Jowls begin to form. Sometimes, the nose will turn down and become quite pointy. Finally, as an added bonus, wrinkles and lines form and the corners of the mouth turn down, causing a constant scowl. These effects can also happen when a set of dentures gets old and worn down.
Fortunately, most of these results of tooth loss can be reversed with well constructed replacement teeth. Dentures can be made to support the lips and remove lower face lines. A properly positioned bite on dental restorations can restore the lower face to it’s original shape. Deep wrinkles can be smoothed with dermal filler therapy. New teeth cannot make one young again, but they can provide a bit of a face lift and certainly, a boost of confidence. Add some implants to snap things into place and the results get even better.
Life happens and teeth cannot always be saved. Down the line, there are plenty of replacement alternatives. It’s never too late to get a nice smile and a healthy mouth.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.