Invest in saving your teeth. Enjoy their benefits for a lifetime.
Your teeth are an important part of your body. They help you to eat, speak, and smile. But did you know that your teeth are also a miracle of nature?
Here are just a few of the things that make your teeth so amazing:
- They are strong and durable. Your teeth are made of dentin, which is a pliable but hard structure to allow some flexibility during the crushing forces that you generate when you eat or grind. The dentine is covered in enamel, which is the hardest structure in the body.
- They are self-cleaning. Your teeth are constantly bathed in saliva, which helps to wash away food particles and bacteria. Of course, you still need to clean your teeth otherwise with sustained assault from the bacteria they can still rot.
- For minor cracks or even decay, they can repair themselves. If a tooth is damaged, it can actually repair itself. This process is called remineralization. For larger deeper cracks you will benefit from proactive dental intervention.
- They are unique to each individual. No two teeth are exactly alike. This is because the shape, size, and alignment of your teeth are determined by your genes.
- They are essential for your health. Healthy teeth help you to eat a balanced diet, which is important for overall health. Through the process of mastication, they help you extract the vital nutrients from your food that you need to nourish your body as well as to repair damage to the various tissues.
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. This is the most important thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy. People sometimes ask if it is important to floss (or clean between each tooth with a dental aid). Only for the teeth that you want to keep.
- Visit your dental practice for regular dental health checks and hygiene treatments. This is how you can catch any problems early on and prevent them from getting worse.
- Eat a healthy diet. Minimise sugary foods and drinks, which can damage your teeth.
- Quit smoking and vaping. Smoking is bad for your teeth and gums. The nicotine shuts down the blood vessels that you need to transport the vital nutrients with.
- Wear a mouthguard when you play sports. This can help to protect your teeth from injury.
- With the right self-care your dentition can last you a life time. A few minutes of diligence a day can markedly improve its life expectancy.
So next time you brush your teeth, take a moment to appreciate this miracle of nature. Your teeth are truly amazing!
But what if the damage has gone too far?
The above picture shows an upper molar tooth with the crown that you can see and the roots that are usually under your gum, encased by bone. The orange arrows a translucent crack which extends from the mouth all the way in to the root which is surrounded by bone. The crack allows bacteria to enter the tooth socket where it eats away bone. The only way to resolve this is to remove the tooth.
If you look at the size and surface area of the roots you can imagine how much force it would take to fracture this tooth. It would have to be many tens of kilos of excessive load. Once this tooth is lost the force still has to be generated but with fewer teeth left, this load is increases over the remaining teeth, resulting in a reduced life expectancy. It is for this reason that you replace these missing teeth to help support the remaining dentition.
There are a few options to replace teeth –
Bridgework – This usually involves altering the adjacent teeth. The benefit is that it can be a faster fixed solution. The downside is that the bridge has to be supported by teeth which then have to carry extra load.
Dentures – This is usually a fast solution which will fill the gaps. It can give you a good cosmetic benefit, but it is very much like a crutch rather than the actual legs.
Implants – Implants is the closest option to natural teeth as they do not involve altering adjacent teeth. They will help your other teeth last longer.
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