The best dentist will say that your smile is only as good as your teeth. Tooth enamel is surprisingly the hardest surface in the human body, allowing peroxide-based chemicals in toothpastes and other teeth whitening agents to create a brighter and whiter smile. However, 100 years ago, about half of all the adults in North America were toothless, but improvements in dental care have resulted in less than 10% of people over the age of 65 with missing teeth. People become edentulous (without teeth) for many reasons such as injury, severe malnutrition, genetic defects, and chronic drug use, but the most common reason for lost teeth is due to dental and gum disease or decay. These oral complications stem from improper dental hygiene, and those who refuse to go to a dentist under any condition because of a previous negative experience. Odontophobia (fear of the dentist) is a real fear, and is classified as a phobia in the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
The most reliable and effective solution for replacing missing teeth involve dental implants. There are two types of dental implants that are commonly used, depending on whether the individual is replacing some, or all of their teeth. The most commonly used dental implant surgery involves an endosteal (in the bone) procedure, which uses screws or blades placed into the jawbone, in order to hold the artificial tooth. Endosteal is an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures. Patients missing some teeth on a particular arch can use removable partial dentures, whereas complete dentures are worn by patients missing all of their teeth on either arch (upper maxillary or lower mandibular). Subperiosteal (on the bone) is another form of dental implants, and is common among patients with minimal bone height, and those that can’t wear conventional dentures. Overall, dental implants are a very reliable solution, and have a success rate of up to 98%. With the proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
If you’re considering dental implants, good general and oral health is necessary, because adequate bone in the jaw, as well as healthy gum tissues are required for supporting the implants. Dental implant procedures can be expensive, but most dental insurance policies will cover most of the price. Regardless, good and consistent oral care is necessary if you want to maintain a healthy and attractive smile. Whether your teeth are artificial or not is completely up to you, but having the ability to eat normally, and flash an attractive smile is a price worth paying for.
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