Know Your Teeth: Five Facts About Your Dental Health
A beautiful smile can change your life; a healthy smile can save your life. We ask leading local experts about common dental problems, preventive measures, and treatment options that can make a big difference in not only your appearance, but in your overa
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Q. What are my options for replacing a missing tooth?
A. When a child loses a tooth, it’s usually regarded as a cause for celebration—another step towards growing up, complete with an overnight visit from the Tooth Fairy. A child will replace his or her baby teeth with adult teeth.
When you’re an adult and you lose a tooth, though, it’s not exactly a celebratory occasion.
Whether your tooth (or teeth) was knocked out in a sports injury or accident, or had to be extracted due to gum disease or decay, options for replacing the missing tooth include a dental implant, bridgework, or a removable partial denture.
In many cases, the implant is the best method for replacing a missing tooth. Since an implant isn’t attached to any surrounding teeth, you can floss and maintain it like your natural teeth, and it has the same chance to last a lifetime. The implant itself is made from materials that are compatible with the body, like titanium. It looks and feels like your lost tooth.
“A metal post is surgically placed into the bone beneath your gum tissue. It fuses to the bone in your jaw and acts like the root of the tooth. Then I mount a replacement tooth, or crown, on the implant to match the surrounding tooth,” says Dr. Spencer. “Also, implants can be used to anchor full or partial dentures to increase strength or retention.”
According to Dr. Roszkowski, more and more insurance companies are helping patients cover the cost of dental implants and crowns.
Q. What can I do if I’m self-conscious about my smile?
A. Life is too short to constantly hide your smile. Cosmetic dentistry is like a facelift that can reverse the natural aging process of the teeth.
Dr. Ned Windmiller of Windmiller Distinctive Dentistry—with offices in Stillwater and Wayzata—is included in a small group of dentists in Minnesota to be a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), and has given lectures around the world to other dentists regarding cosmetic dentistry and the natural smile.
A smile design consultation includes focusing on gaps and spaces, crooked or crowded teeth, chipped teeth, missing teeth, or old crowns or bridges. State-of-the-art computer imaging and digital radiography helps patients visualize the end result.
“My patients who receive a new smile say they smile more than they ever have before,” comments Dr. Ned Windmiller. “I think it’s not only because of their beautiful, natural-looking smile, but also the major boost of confidence they receive from it.”