Alligators could be the key to tooth replacement in humans. Until that’s actually possible, we have dental implants.
A team of researchers has been studying alligators because they can regrow their teeth up to 50 times during their lives, according to Smithsonianmag.com. As people, we lose our baby teeth naturally, but if our adult teeth fall out, they aren’t coming back.
If your tooth got infected, you could just pull it out, confident that a new one would grow in its place.
Since that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, dental implants are the next best thing to regrowing your teeth.
How Bad Is One Missing Tooth?
You may be thinking that losing a tooth can’t be that bad. If you know someone who has lost a tooth or teeth, we encourage you to ask their opinion.
From our perspective, we have seen how a lost tooth can take a toll on our patients’ oral health.
Your teeth provide mutual support for one another. When you lose a tooth, then the teeth on either side of the gap lose a direct part of their support structure. Indirectly, all the teeth in that arch could be affected as well.
Without the missing tooth, your teeth can start to shift out of position. This can affect your ability to bite and chew your food. You may find foods like nuts become too hard to handle. You also may find chewing things like steak and chicken becomes more and more difficult.
When you lose a tooth, you also start to lose bone density in your jaw. As that bone loss spreads, it could affect the closest teeth. They could come loose or fall out, which will only speed up the bone loss and put even more of your teeth at risk.
When you lost a tooth as a child, you learned how it can affect how your pronounce words. If you lose a tooth as an adult, the same thing can happen. The difference is something we consider cute in children can seem embarrassing for an adult.
More Than A Physical Problem
Teeth definitely serve an important role in our digestive process. They are the tools we use to start breaking down our food into the nutrients we need to remain healthy.
But our teeth also affect our self-esteem.
We have seen this in patients who have lost teeth. Many of them become self-conscious, which makes them hesitant to smile.
Sometimes they will go out of their way to hide their teeth from other people. This may mean putting their hands over their mouths when they speak or holding a napkin near their mouth while they eat.
For an adult, a missing tooth can affect their ability to do their jobs. especially if you are more worried about a client or customer seeing your teeth than in providing him or her with good service.
You Won’t Have To Worry With Dental Implants
When you lose a tooth, you have two gaps. The gap that everyone can see is the space between your dental crowns. The other gap is below the gumline in your alveolar bone.
The root of your tooth was anchored to the alveolar bone. A dental implant can be used to replace the missing root.
After your implant is placed, the bone will start to heal. As it heals, it will bond to your implant just as it does to the roots of your natural teeth. This holds the implant firmly place.
A dental crown can be placed on your implant to replace a single tooth. A dental bridge can replace multiple teeth, and dentures can be attached to multiple implants to replace a full arch of teeth.
In all of those instances, dental implants provide the foundation to revive your smile, to restore your ability to speak like you always could, and to eat anything that you want to eat.
Within months of getting your implants, your bite force may be close to its original strength (which is between 200 and 250 pounds). With time, your bite force can even get back to 100 percent.
Get Back Your Bite
Our sincere hope is that you will never need a dental implant because you will keep all your adult teeth for the rest of your life.
But if something should happen due to tooth decay or an accident, then you can be confident that you can keep eating — and keep smiling — with the help of dental implants.