The Importance of Prevention

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Why are your teeth important?

Your teeth are critically important to your health and well-being. You need teeth that function properly for your comfort, optimal nutrition and overall health. Unhealthy teeth and bleeding gums can precipitate systemic infections and inflammations as bacteria from the mouth can easily enter the blood stream. Your smile also reveals a great deal about you—not only your disposition, but how much pride you have in projecting a positive appearance and self-image as well. It is an essential ingredient for success and self-esteem—every bit as important as an expensive suit or a fancy car. A nice smile communicates confidence, attractiveness and friendliness.

What causes tooth loss?

If a house has a solid foundation, it can easily be preserved by fixing the walls or changing the wallpaper. If it has a poor foundation, however, no amount of wallpaper will save it. The same is true in the mouth. The amount of bone surrounding the teeth and the shape and length of the roots is the foundation for the mouth. When the bone disappears around teeth, there is less support for the teeth. If all the bone disappears around the teeth, abcesses occur and the teeth are lost. This process—often painless—is called periodontal disease. One of the main reasons for taking X-Rays is to examine the soundness of this foundation below the gums.

Factors that contribute to bone loss include:

A. Plaque and calculus build-up
B. Decay
C. Food impaction areas
D. Destructive habits
E. Missing teeth
F. Abnormal bite
G. Poor root anatomy
H. Genetic predisposition
I. Systemic conditions such as Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Disease
J. Abnormal growth and development.

Because Dentistry does not know how to grow the bone back once it is lost, prevention is the key to preserving oral health.

How Can You Prevent Loss of Teeth?

Regular oral hygiene visits and proper home care are an important strategy for maintaining oral health for two reasons:

1. Regular elimination of plaque and calculus greatly reduces the risk of periodontal bone loss. Plaque and calculus cause inflammation of the gums, and this inflammatory process can spread to the underlying bone. Inflamed and bleeding gums also provide a direct route for bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and contribute to systemic conditions.
2. Regular examinations allow minor problems to be corrected before they become major ones.

Dental restorations are also a key to prevention of periodontal bone and tooth loss. The purpose of dental restorations is to:

A. Prevent decay
B. Eliminate sensitivity
C. Improve cleansibility and hygiene
D. Reduce destructive forces on the periodontal bone and roots
E. Create ideal tooth-jaw relationships
F. Restore normal anatomy and function, and
G. Improve appearance.

Periodontal bone loss can be prevented with a high degree of success by eliminating the controllable risk factors for periodontal bone and tooth loss, such as missing teeth, food impaction areas, decay, and abnormal bite.

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