A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
While the majority of cases of tooth damage happen to children, adults can also have their teeth damaged. When this happens, you may be able to save your tooth. However, when your tooth has become too damaged or when you wait too long before having it put back in place, you may need a dental implant and a prosthetic tooth.
When You Damage Your Tooth
When a tooth is damaged, whether it be from biting down too hard on something or a basketball hitting you in the mouth, it might not be immediately apparent that your tooth is damaged. Even if your tooth is still intact, the underlying tissue could become damaged.
The outside of your tooth is made of enamel; it is the hardest substance in the human body. Underneath the enamel is dentin, which is a porous substance. Underneath that is the pulp, which consists of nerves and connective tissue.
The Loss of a Tooth
If your tooth becomes chipped, the dentin or pulp could be exposed. This could lead to the pulp becoming infected. When this occurs, the pulp can become irreversibly damaged and you may need to have the pulp replaced with a plastic filling.
A more damaging situation is when your tooth is knocked out completely. You might be able to place your tooth back in its socket -- however, if you're not able to put the tooth back in place, don't force it back in. If you place your tooth in cold milk, you'll be more likely to salvage it until you're able to go to the dentist. However, it's more likely that your tooth will be lost.
Replacing Your Teeth
When you have lost your tooth, you're best off replacing it with dental implants. These are titanium rods that are implanted into your jawbone. Attached on these implants are prosthetic teeth that function like your real teeth and also look similar to them.
With dental implants, it doesn't matter how many teeth you have lost. If you have lost one tooth, you could have that tooth replaced individually. However, if you have lost several teeth, you could have a bridge with several teeth attached to a dental implant. It's even possible to have all of your teeth replaced with the use of only four dental implants. The best way to determine what is best for you is to consult with a dentist who offers dental implants.