Monday, February 12, 2018

All About Porcelain Veneers

All About Porcelain Veneers at Bertagnolli Dental Westminster
Ready to learn all about porcelain veneers? Our team at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, Colorado can guide you through the best options for your teeth. Getting dental veneers is typically a fast, simple, and painless procedure that can solve a range of cosmetic problems. If you are unsure whether veneers are the right option for you, keep reading. We will take you through the ins and outs of the procedure as well as the advantages and potential drawbacks of getting veneers.

What are Porcelain Veneers
Veneers are custom-made shells of a material designed to look exactly like your natural teeth. They are applied to the front surface of a tooth and are very successful in improving the tooth's appearance by changing its shape, size or color. Dental veneers are typically made of composite resin materials or porcelain. They are slightly more true to the appearance of tooth enamel, as they have similar light reflecting properties. Another reason to favor porcelain is that they are more resistant to staining than resin veneers.

Who Should Consider Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers are most often considered by people that have a cosmetic issue with one or many of their teeth. Acquired problems can include a chipped or broken tooth. If the tooth in question is still structurally sound and functional, having a porcelain veneer applied will instantly fix the aesthetic problem. Some people with overly worn down teeth, especially those at the front of the mouth, choose to get veneers to even out the size of the affected teeth.

Veneers also provide a solution for heavily stained teeth. Tooth yellowing can be a result of smoking tobacco or frequent consumption of dark-colored drinks such as coffee and red wine. Tooth discoloration can sometimes occur as a side effect of the antibiotic tetracycline or after a root canal treatment. If traditional teeth whitening methods do not produce good results, porcelain veneers allow you to choose the exact shade of white they prefer for the visible surface of their teeth.

Porcelain veneers are also great if you want to get the appearance of a straight, even smile without investing a lot of time and money into orthodontic braces. Veneers can be custom shaped to fill out the gaps between teeth, increase the size of smaller teeth, and even out the surface and borders of any oddly shaped teeth.

What Does the Procedure Involve?
The first stage of getting veneers is the consultation and diagnosis. For this, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth examined and discuss your goals. Your dentist will be able to decide if you are a suitable candidate for veneers and the extent to which veneers can achieve your desired look. During this appointment, the dentist may take X-rays of your mouth or impressions of your teeth with a mold.

The next stage involves prepping the tooth or teeth. The enamel on the front of each tooth receiving a veneer has to be filed down by around half a millimeter to allow space for the veneer. You can be given a local anesthetic to numb the whole area and reduce any discomfort during this process. A mold can then be taken of the prepped tooth and sent to a dental laboratory where the veneer will be constructed over a period of two to four weeks. Constructing the dental veneer involves painted a number of layers of porcelain ceramic onto the mold of your tooth, to build it up to the desired thickness and shape.

The final step is to permanently bond the veneer to your prepped tooth. Your dentist will fit the veneer onto the tooth and make any last minute adjustment to the shape by filing it down before using a specialized cement to adhere the veneer to your tooth. Once the veneer is in position and cemented onto the tooth, a curing light is used to activate chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden quickly. Your dentist will remove any excess cement and check your bite with the veneer in place. You may be asked to return in a few weeks to check how your gums have responded to the veneer.

Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
This option highly recommended by dentists as a long-term solution for teeth in need of aesthetic improvement. The material closely mimics the appearance, color, and texture of your natural teeth. The color of a porcelain veneer can be chosen to match the surrounding teeth and will not stain over time. Porcelain is tolerated well by surrounding gum tissue and unlikely to cause irritation. One big advantage is their ease of placement. They do not require the level of invasive shaping and molding used when placing a crown.

Disadvantages of Porcelain Veneers
The main downside to veneers is that they are not completely permanent. They usually last at least 7 to 15 years, but due to normal wear and tear they can eventually chip, crack or come loose completely. If this happens, you will need to replace the veneer with a new one, as once the tooth has been filed down and prepped for a veneer it is unwise to leave it bare. In this way, veneers are a non-reversible procedure. Another disadvantage associated with veneers is that some people will experience an increase in sensitivity to hot and cold due to the removal of some enamel from the tooth. They also cost more than composite resin veneers.

Porcelain veneers are an excellent option for anyone interested in changing the appearance of their teeth without opting for the more invasive and expensive procedure of a full crown. Once they are placed, they are low-maintenance and require no special care, apart from the usual brushing and flossing. Now that you know all about them, why not schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your suitability for the procedure? At Bertagnolli Dental, we are fortunate to have the use of an in-house laboratory where we can create custom porcelain veneers. This means a lower overall cost and less waiting time than in other clinics where the lab work must be outsourced.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Resin and Amalgam Fillings

The experienced team at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster can tell you everything you need to know about resin and amalgam fillings. We have been providing a full range of dental services to adults and children since 1973. Getting a cavity filled is a simple procedure, but your dentist may offer you a choice of various materials for your filling. Knowing the pros and cons of each material in advance will make your decision easier.

Amalgam Fillings
Dental amalgam is a mixture of a number of metals, including mercury, silver, copper, and tin. This compound is extremely durable and resistant to large forces, making it very suitable as a material for fillings. Many dentists prefer metal amalgam fillings to be used on the chewing surfaces of the molars, which undergo extreme wear and tear over years of grinding down food. Amalgam is also favored by dentists because it is easy to work with. There is very little waiting time between setting the filling and it being completely cured.

Amalgam fillings have come under scrutiny in recent years because of the mercury content of the filling and the health risks of exposure to high levels of mercury. Fortunately, when chemically bonded to other metals in the form of a filling, it is not possible for mercury to enter the bloodstream and cause health problems. Research by the American Dental Association has found that dental amalgam is a safe material for use in fillings.

Resin Fillings
Resin composite fillings are made from a mixture of plastic and ceramic compounds. Their main advantage is their white color which blends in with the natural color of tooth enamel. For this reason, resin composite dental fillings are the first choice for fillings near the front of the mouth that are visible when smiling. When they were first developed, resin fillings were not strong enough to be used on the back molars. Over the past 15 years, however, advances in technology have improved their durability, allowing them to be used on all teeth.

Resin fillings are generally more expensive than amalgam fillings. They are also slightly more difficult for your dentist to successfully complete, as the area of the dental cavity must be kept completely dry while the material is being applied and cured. This can be done using rubber dams and specialized tools, but it is difficult when the cavity extends below the gumline. Whereas amalgam fillings often last more than 20 years, resin fillings have not been around long enough to prove their long-term durability.

Knowing the differences between resin and amalgam fillings will help you understand the options when it comes to deciding which is right for you. At Bertagnolli Dental, we are committed to giving all of our patients the best results and the most comfortable experience. We’ll help you select the right material for your filling while taking into account all of your concerns about cosmetics, durability, health effects and cost. For more information on fillings or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call today.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fillings Are Nothing to Worry About

Fillings Are Nothing to Worry About Bertagnolli Dental
Tlinghis week at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, we want to let you know that fils are nothing to worry about. Dental fillings, sometimes known as restorations, are one of the most common dental procedures. Most Americans will need at least one filling at some point in their life, and the procedure is so quick and simple that it should not be any cause for concern.

Why Would I Need a Filling?
A filling will be recommended by your dentist if they find a cavity in your tooth during your dental checkup. A cavity is basically a hole formed in the surface of your tooth's enamel due to tooth decay. Some people are more prone to tooth decay than others, but you can reduce your chances of getting a cavity by avoiding sugary, sticky and acidic foods, and keeping up a good oral hygiene routine.

What Does the Procedure Involve?
To carry out a filling, your dentist will first numb the area of your mouth surrounding the tooth. This is to minimize any discomfort during the procedure. First, a numbing gel is applied to the gums. Once the gum has been numbed, the dentist will inject an anesthetic into the area to fully numb the surrounding teeth, gums, tongue, and cheek. The dentist can then use their tools to remove any remaining decaying material from the tooth and thoroughly clean out the hole.

After the cavity has been cleaned, they will fill the hole with a tough material designed to replicate the structure of your tooth. This will allow you to continue using the tooth to bite and chew as you normally would, and it will protect the damaged area from further decay. The most common materials used to fill cavities are composite resins, metal amalgams, ceramics, and gold. Dental ionomers are tooth-colored materials used for cavities between teeth or very small cavities. Ceramic and gold fillings are generally more expensive than composite resins or metal amalgams.

After the Procedure
While the procedure itself will only take between 20 minutes and one hour to complete, your mouth will probably stay numb for a few hours afterward. It is recommended to avoid eating solid foods until the feeling has fully returned to your mouth. This will lower your risk of accidentally biting your tongue or cheek. Your tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures for a time after the filling. You can ask your dentist to recommend special toothpaste to combat this problem if it affects you.

A tooth filling is a quick, affordable, and painless procedure that can extend the life of your tooth by decades. If you refuse your dentist's recommendation of a filling, the decay can advance deeper into the tooth and eventually cause a lot of pain and possible infection. Once the decay is advanced, the only options are to get a more expensive root canal and dental crown or to have the tooth pulled.

Now that you know fillings are nothing to worry about, you should schedule that appointment with your dentist, instead of putting it off until you are in serious pain. Bertagnolli Dental offers our Westminster patients a range of anesthetic and sedation options for all procedures. For all information and to schedule an appointment, we are here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Healthy Teeth Tips from Your Family Dentist

Healthy Teeth Tips from Your Family Dentist
Review these healthy teeth tips from your family dentist, Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster. Avoiding tooth decay and gum disease will keep teeth happy, ensure a great smile, and help to keep your overall health in good shape. Unhealthy teeth can lead to difficulty with general nutrition, speech problems, tooth loss, and reduced self-esteem. So, let us help you take the best care of your teeth with a full range of dental services, whitening to fillings, crowns, implants and more.

Check the following healthy teeth tips from your family dentist.

1. Start Oral Hygiene Early
It's never too early to establish a regular dental care routine with a baby. Even before their first tooth appears, it is good to get into the habit of cleaning your baby's gums after each feeding. Using a soft, damp washcloth, you can gently rub the surfaces of their gums clean. When their teeth appear, switch to using a soft bristled brush designed for babies. At around two years old, children can start learning how to brush their teeth twice daily, but should still be supervised and assisted by an adult.

2. Don't Smoke
When it comes to healthy teeth tips from your family dentist, this one goes without saying. Smoking puts you at a higher risk of gum disease and oral cancer. Tobacco can also permanently stain the surface of teeth and create bad breath. Remember that children tend to follow in the footsteps of their parents, so try to set a good example by not smoking, at least not around children.

3. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Including plenty of whole foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and protein sources into your family's diet will go a long way in keeping every aspect of their bodies fit and well. Calcium can be found in dairy products, nuts, and pulses such as beans or lentils. This, along with Vitamin D, is necessary to form strong bones and teeth.

4. Brush and Floss Daily
Everyone, from toddlers to the very elderly should brush their teeth twice per day. This is the most important step anyone can take in keeping their teeth strong and free from tooth decay, and it only takes five minutes. You can foster good brushing habits by making it easy and fun for everyone to take care of their teeth, first thing in the morning and before going to bed. Change brushes every 3 months, and try different types until you find the right one. Extra grips on the handles will make it easier for the elderly or those with mobility issues to complete this important task. Of course, always remember to floss. If you’re like a lot of people, you may prefer disposable floss sticks to traditional floss.

5. Use Fluoride
Fluoride is added to the majority of drinking water in the US, due to its success in strengthening enamel and preventing tooth decay. If your local water source is not fluoridated, it is a good idea to talk to your dentist about the best ways to introduce the correct amount of fluoride to your family's dental routine. Use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children. Just a word of caution, too much fluoride can cause white spots to form on the enamel.

6. Rinse or Chew Gum after Eating
Food particles remaining on your teeth after eating will increase the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. You may find it inconvenient to brush after every time you eat throughout the day, but a quick rinse with mouthwash or chewing sugar-free gum will help keep bacteria at bay. Remember that chewing gum is not suitable for very young children that may accidentally swallow it.

7. Use a Mouthguard for Sports
When participating in sports, martial arts or other activities that involve potential knocks and bumps, children and adults should use a mouthguard to protect their teeth. Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard, or you can buy a generic one that molds to your mouth. The important thing is to have something to reduce the risk of injury from impacts. A mouthguard will lower the risk of chipped or broken teeth and prevent the wearer from biting their tongue or the inside of their cheek.

8. Avoid Sugar
Bacteria in our mouth feed on simple sugars and produce an acid, that when left for long enough, can eventually dissolve tooth enamel. Avoiding sugar entirely is difficult, but if we can limit sticky candies and sweet drinks, our teeth appreciate it. Soft drinks such as sodas and fruit juices tend to be high in sugar and acid. When they are sipped slowly over a prolonged time, they can hugely increase the risk of tooth decay. Limit sugary drinks and foods to mealtimes only, instead of consuming throughout the day.

9. Consider Sealants
Sealants are applied to the surface of healthy molars and premolars to protect against cavities. The resin-like substance is easy to apply and adds an extra fortifying layer over the pits and fissures of molars that are particularly susceptible to cavities. These sealants can be applied to children's adult molars as soon as they come in.

10. Keep Up With Your Dentist Appointments
A dental check-up, every six months definitely makes the list of healthy teeth tips from your family dentist. Recommended for both children and adults, regular check-ups allow your dentist to monitor any changes in the condition of your teeth and tackle the first signs of decay. Skipping dental appointments can enable problems such as cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer to develop into serious conditions that will be more difficult to treat.

Following these healthy teeth tips from your family dentist will give your family the best advantage when it comes to lifelong oral health. Avoiding tooth decay means avoiding unnecessary pain, the hassle of multiple appointments to treat cavities and the blow of unexpected costs. For more help on preventative dental care, contact our friendly team at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster. We are happy to help you and your children learn the best techniques for great dental hygiene.

Friday, November 17, 2017

All About Cosmetic Dentistry

All About Cosmetic Dentistry
Everybody loves a smile. Today, Bertagnolli Dental shares all about cosmetic dentistry and what it can do for you. It has now been scientifically proven, that smiling impacts our well-being and psychological health. It’s contagious, too. A happy, bright smile can genuinely transform the way you look and ultimately feel. Make sure that you are completely comfortable with your smile with help from Bertagnolli Dental. We offer a range of cosmetic dentistry services, so be sure to check out the many options for cosmetic dentistry so that you can revamp your smile!

It’s essential to work with your dentist to learn all about cosmetic dentistry in order to choose the right procedures to renovate your smile. At Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, we will create a customized plan for your unique case, formulating the steps needed to achieve your personal dental goals. We can help revitalize your smile with a cosmetic dental plan of your own that is specialized to your particular needs.

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, there a few options to choose from. Your dentist will make recommendations, and you can decide together the best course of action to take. Remember, we are the professionals, and your dental health and aesthetics is our job! Check out some the of the services available and feel free to ask us all about cosmetic dentistry to learn more.

Teeth Whitening/Bleaching
Whitening your teeth can do wonders for their appearance and yours. Over time, coffee, tea, cigarettes or other harsh substances really take a toll of the brightness of our teeth. With a teeth whitening service from Bertagnolli Dental, your teeth with gleam and your smile with shine! Be sure always to have a trusted and reliable dentist perform this procedure, as many products pale in comparison the professional-grade we use. And because it is a relatively extreme chemical treatment, be sure to follow all guidelines for best results. This is a relatively quick procedure, only requiring a single office visit.

Contouring and Reshaping
Sometimes, simply reshaping some awkward teeth is all it takes to improve one’s smile and how you feel about it. Using a variety of files, we can adjust the appearance of your teeth with subtle changes. They can add up to make one big change for the better in your smile! This can be done the same day and does not require a very long visit to the dentist office.

Porcelain veneers can do wonders for any chipped, stained, discolored, or gapped teeth. Your skilled dentist will create a covering for any damaged teeth and even cure it, so it is strong, right there in the office. It will not take long for you to get used to the new support for your teeth and pretty soon you will not be able to tell the difference between your teeth and the veneer. The natural look of veneers will seamlessly blend with your natural teeth and feel great too! Get ready to love your teeth again! This will typically only take a single visit to our Westminster office under normal circumstances.

Dental crowns provide restoration to the tooth, giving it strength, while simultaneously improving appearance. The crown is a permanent piece that fits over a tooth in need of help. Teeth that are cracked, broken, deformed, discolored or a variety of other causes can benefit significantly from having a crown installed. It will look better and function better too. You will be able to chew food effortlessly again! Dental crowns will take a minimum of two office visits to fully install, but the results are well worth the extra trip. Once they know all about cosmetic dentistry and have opted for crowns, many of our patients say that having them changed their life for the better!

Dental implants provide a base, (an artificial root), for replacement teeth to anchor in and they can do wonders for your mouth. These are stable and permanent and do not interfere with neighboring teeth in any way. The bone-like ceramic is compatible with our own body tissue and in a procedure like this, the implant actually fuses with the living bone. This process is called “osseointegration, ” and the results are spectacular for our patients. Implants are durable and stand alone. With this stability at the base of the tooth, you can really let loose with your best smile! Implants take at least two office visits to completely establish, but you will love the results.

Full-Mouth Reconstruction
Depending on the severity of your dental makeup, we can provide a complete reconstruction of your mouth. Trust that we know all about cosmetic dentistry and can find the ideal situation no matter what we find during an examination of your teeth and mouth. Sometimes, a patient’s teeth are the result of genetics, hard use, or the combination of the two. No matter what the reasons your teeth are not what you want them to be, we can help big-time at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster with all of the cosmetic dental services you need.

Fortunately, it is possible to completely re-do one’s mouth and create natural, comfortable, and lasting dental solutions. Offering everything from dental crowns and implants to veneers to dental bridges, whitening and more, at Bertagnolli Dental, we can organize a dental plan that meets your specific needs and goals no matter how big. Our team is ready to help transform your dental image this year, and you will simply love the results, so, let's get started!

The team at Bertagnolli Dental cares about your experience at our dentist practice. We will do everything we can to make it a pleasant and productive experience. Our attention to detail, in-depth understanding of the dental field and cosmetic dentistry, as well as our ability to listen to our client’s needs, will ensure that you are taken care of by the most caring professionals in Colorado. Come to our Westminster office to learn all about cosmetic dentistry and how it can help you love your smile more than ever before!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Should I Get Teeth Whitening?

Should I Get Teeth Whitening?
At Bertagnolli Dental in Denver, a common question we get from patients is, should I get teeth whitening? To be honest, your dentist cannot make that decision for you. We can certainly give you information about the procedure, costs, and effectiveness, but in the end, it is up to the individual to make the decision. If you are thinking about whitening your teeth, keep reading to find out more about the reasons why people decide to get their teeth whitened and the different methods available.

Why Are My Teeth Discolored?
The exact color of your natural tooth enamel depends on your genes, but generally, when your adult teeth first appear, they are at their whitest. Over the years, a combination of constant use, aging and staining will gradually change the color of your teeth. As the hard, white enamel wears away, the darker inner layers of your tooth become more visible, creating a grayer appearance. A buildup of stains from tea, coffee, red wine or tobacco can also dull the natural color of your teeth. While some people worry that yellowing or darkening tooth enamel is a sign of poor hygiene, it is a natural process that occurs over time.

Some other causes of tooth discoloration, and reason patients consider teeth whitening, include grinding your teeth, which can cause the enamel to be worn away faster and result in tiny cracks on the tooth's surface. Certain antibiotics taken before the age of eight can produce tooth discoloration as a side effect. Also, overexposure to fluoride as a child can result in permanent staining of the adult teeth, a condition known as dental fluorosis. An injury to a tooth can cause the root to die and significantly change the color of the tooth. While some of the causes of tooth discoloration are preventable, many are not.

Should I Get Teeth Whitening?
When it comes to teeth, everyone is different. Some people are extremely unsatisfied with the gradual discoloration of their teeth, whereas others are not affected in the slightest. If having discolored teeth has an adverse impact on your self-image and confidence, it is worthwhile considering professional teeth whitening as a solution. Some people are so embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth that they avoid smiling for photos or avoid social situations. As you can imagine, this has a severely limiting effect on their professional and personal life.

Teeth whitening is a highly effective way of restoring the bright white appearance of your teeth. For some people, tooth discoloration may only occur at the tops or bottoms of the teeth, or they may have just a few spots or stains that bother them. Others may want to reduce an overall yellowing of the teeth that happens over time. If you are unsatisfied with the appearance of your teeth, having them whitened is a cost effective way to improve them almost instantly. Teeth whitening is a non-invasive procedure that can be done by any qualified dental professional.

Tooth Whitening at the Dentist's Office
Once you have decided to go ahead with teeth whitening, it is time to choose which method to use. The option most recommended for first-time whiteners is the treatment offered at your dentist's office. Your dentist is the only person capable of first evaluating your teeth to check their suitability for whitening, and deciding on the strength of solution to use. A whitening treatment at the dentist's office usually involves a strong bleaching gel of around 40% hydrogen peroxide. This highly concentrated solution is very effective and is only administered by dental professionals.

Before applying the whitening gel, your dentist will first ensure your gum line is protected. A rubber dam is hand-painted onto your gums to ensure the gel only comes into contact with your teeth and avoids damaging the more delicate tissue of your gums. Once the chemically activated gel is applied, it will start working immediately and produce significant results in around one hour. To prolong the effect of this teeth whitening treatment, your dentist may offer you a take home kit to continue regular whitening sessions by yourself.

Custom Kits
Some dentists offer a professionally supplied whitening kit that can be used in the comfort of your own home, at your convenience. A custom try will be created from a mold of your teeth by your dentist, and the gel will be supplied in pre-measured, easy to apply syringes. Your dentist will instruct you on the application times, which can vary from 30 minutes to overnight.

Over the Counter Kits
There are inexpensive teeth whitening kits commonly available in grocery stores and drug stores. These kits usually contain pre-made strips or a paint-on applicator with a weak solution of whitening gel to be used at home. These kits can be effective to some degree, but because of the limited strength of the product, they may produce inconsistent results. Some people are tempted to leave the gel on for longer than the recommended time and end up suffering from increased sensitivity and even gum burns. Without a tray customized to your mouth, it can be hard to apply the gel to the surfaces evenly and protect your gums from exposure.

Is Teeth Whitening Right For Me?
Before you should I get teeth whitening, consider how much time and money you want to invest in the process. When carried out in a dentist's office, teeth whitening is fast, highly effective and should have no side effects or health risks. Unfortunately, teeth whitening is not usually covered by medical insurance as it is considered a non-essential, cosmetic procedure.

On the other hand, it is significantly cheaper and faster that orthodontic braces, veneers and other methods used to improve the appearance of teeth. Another issue to considerat is that whitening treatments will not succeed in changing the color of crowns or fillings, just the natural enamel of your teeth.

Hopefully, we have cleared up some of your concerns about this non-invasive, affordable procedure. If you are still wondering should I get teeth whitening, then feel free to schedule a consultation with one of our professionals at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, Colorado. We would be happy to advise you on the most suitable method to improve your smile.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What Happens If You Don't Replace A Missing Tooth

What Happens If You Don't Replace A Missing Tooth
We’re often asked, “What happens if you don't replace a missing tooth?” Luckily, the team at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, Colorado has the answers. We always provide accurate, unbiased and up-to-date information to our patients. A missing tooth can be dealt with in a number of ways, but some people may prefer just to leave it. With the full story, it is easier to make the best decision for your health.

Missing teeth currently affect a large percentage of the population, and around 35 million people in the United States are missing all of their teeth due to accidents, wear and tear with age, gum disease, or as a result of cancer. Some seek dentist services to start the process of replacing their tooth immediately after losing it. Depending on the age of the patient, their budget, and personal preferences, there are a number of different replacement options available, permanently or temporarily. However, what happens if you don't replace a missing tooth are a variety of issues you will likely notice.

Your Appearance Changes
A missing tooth can drastically alter the appearance of your natural smile. If the missing tooth is near the front of your mouth, the gap may be easily visible to others when you talk, eat and smile. This change can affect some people more than others. If a gap in your teeth causes you to become self-conscious, you may start to avoid smiling or talking to other people. When a missing tooth impacts the self-confidence of a patient, it may be time to consider tooth replacement for aesthetic reasons.

Speech is Sometimes Affected
Multiple missing teeth can limit the types of food you can comfortably eat. You may have to start avoiding hard, brittle or chewy foods, or risk discomfort while chewing. Indigestion and altered nutrition are also side effects of this problem. If you lose teeth at the front of your mouth, you may experience an alteration in the way you speak. We pronounce certain sounds by moving the tongue against the back of our front teeth. If they suddenly disappear it is not uncommon to develop a lisp or for the way you enunciate words to change. For one or multiplie missing teeth, dental bridges might be the answer.

Eating Can Be Difficult
In addition to changing your appearance, what happens if you don't replace a missing tooth is that it can also cause you to change the way you eat and talk. If you lose a tooth that is heavily used when chewing food, this can create an immediate impact in the way you chew and the types of food you can eat. You will have to compensate for the loss of your tooth by using other teeth more to bite and chew. If you are missing the molars that usually do the heavy grinding work, you may have to rely on your incisors and canines more when processing food. This unusual stress can cause them to wear down quickly.

Risk of Gum Disease
Once a tooth is lost, there is an increased risk of gum disease at the site of the missing tooth. Some people forget or never learn how to clean the area correctly, and this can lead to a buildup of bacteria. Gum disease threatens the health of the surrounding teeth and causes bad breath. To avoid this, the easiest way is to fill the empty space with an implant or dental bridge to replace the tooth. Preventing a tooth from falling out is much easier and less costly than having to deal with a missing tooth.

Accelerated Bone Loss
One lesser known, but serious side effect of what happens if you don't replace a missing tooth is bone loss. A healthy tooth has its root firmly embedded in the jawbone. This keeps the tooth anchored in place, and the continual pressure from the tooth as it works to bite and chew food keeps the jawbone healthy and intact. As soon as a tooth is removed or falls out, nothing is stimulating the jawbone, and it starts to lose volume and density. In the first year after the tooth is lost the jawbone directly under the gap will lose 25% of its volume and continue to shrink.

This loss of bone in your jaw over time can physically change the shape of your face. As bone is lost and the underlying structure of your jaw shrinks away, your skin and lips may appear sunken and puckered around the mouth, or become asymmetrical if the tooth loss is on one side. If left without replacement for a long time, the bone can deteriorate significantly and cause the sinus to enlarge, leaving little actual bone structure remaining to anchor an implant if one is desired later. This is why it is important to act quickly when you lose a tooth. If you wait too long, it may be impossible to have an implant without more complex bone grafting.

Options for Replacing a Missing Tooth
A missing tooth can be replaced relatively quickly and easily by your dentist. There are a number of different options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, but the most recommended option by far is a dental implant which is anchored directly into the jawbone. A crown is cemented onto this implant and acts as a permanent replacement for your missing tooth. The titanium 'root' means that your replacement tooth is strong enough to use for normal chewing and that the jawbone will continue to receive the pressure it needs to stay intact and healthy. Other options include dental bridges and partial or full dentures, but these will not combat bone loss as well as an implant.

Even if your missing tooth is not too visible and does not affect your self-esteem, it is important to think about the overall health of your mouth when considering the options. Our experienced dentists at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster are happy to continue the conversation in-person about what happens if you don't replace a missing tooth. Call us today to schedule your appointment.