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Loss of teeth, known as edentulism, is normally considered to be a problem in and outside of Australia. It is most likely to be experienced by the elderly all over the world, but it can also affect the young generation – young adults and even children – if they do not practice proper oral hygiene.
In children, loss of teeth often happens through injury, or dental caries, the destruction of the tooth’s enamel creating decay and cavities and is a major problem for children and teenagers. For adults, the number one cause of tooth loss is caused by gum disease, originating as gingivitis, and in its advanced stages becoming periodontitis, a chronic bacterial infection which destroys the gum tissue and bone, causing teeth to become loose and often needing to be extracted. For the elderly, accumulated plaque may become hardened, gums may begin to recede, which combined with the production of less saliva, which protects the teeth and gums, can provide risks for losing teeth
The number one contributor to oral problems is poor oral hygiene habits, as simple brushing and flossing regularly can alleviate many of the problems, which can be almost eliminated with a bi-annual professional cleaning at the dentist. What goes into our mouth is a key contributor, with foods high in sugar, acids and carbohydrates responsible for tooth and gum damage, and smoking is considered particularly bad also. Lack of education on oral hygiene, along with an individual’s finances can play a part, which might save a few dollars in the short term, but is building up trouble and much bigger bills down the road. Our body’s immune system is vitally important for good oral hygiene and some treatments and medications, such as chemotherapy or immunosuppressive medications can weaken it, so that tooth infections become more likely.
Losing teeth is more of an issue than simply having a problem chewing food, as purely from a physical perspective, it can alter the shape of your jaw and cheeks, as the remaining teeth move position slightly to fill in the gap. This tends to pinch your cheeks in and make you look older. Missing teeth can cause social anxiety and embarrassment, and make others wonder about your overall hygiene. The financial aspect also cannot be ignored, as complex dental care does not come cheap.
Restorative dentistry is able to provide several options for replacing the missing tooth or teeth. There are dental implants North Sydney and Northern Territory clinics, among others, offer that are the best and most permanent solution, whereby a qualified oral surgeon will implant a titanium screw into the bone of the jaw. This acts as an artificial root, upon which a replacement tooth can be attached. Many such recipients provide feedback that such teeth are indistinguishable from the real thing in looks and feel. Another option is the dental bridge, which is a false tooth, fused between two crowns, which “bridge” the gap. The crowns each side holding the bridge are cemented in place, so it is secure and irremovable.
Another option is dentures, which are removable replacements for missing teeth, and they fill in the space created, while preventing the remaining teeth from shifting position. This is more of an option for people who have lost most or all of their teeth.
Whatever your situation, whether you’re in Australia or in other parts of the world, there’s bound to be a dentist that can advise you on a most suitable solution for your dental problems, and help you get that pearly white smile back on your face.