Edentulism – Full Mouth Tooth Loss
Restoring your mouth when all teeth are missing – Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford
Although the numbers are now declining with the advance of better education surrounding oral care and the advances that have been made in the dental industry, there are still many people who have no natural teeth at all (2.7 million people in the UK in 2009 (reference 1).
Many people have the odd missing tooth and as dentists we would always advise a suitable replacement. However, if we have no teeth at all, we are almost certain to take quick action to replace them, simply in that we need teeth to eat our food effectively.
There are a number of ways that this can be done, and we will look at those later on in this blog. For those of our Chelmsford patients who have not yet reached the stage of life where tooth loss starts to become more of an issue, it is worth looking at some of the main contributing factors so that action can be taken to minimise the risk.
Risk factors for edentulism:
There’s not much that we can do about this one, but we can make sure that when we eventually arrive at this phase of our life, our oral health is as good as it can be. Focus on avoiding tooth damaging foods, establish a good home cleaning regimen, and make sure to see one of our Blue Sky Dental dentists and hygienists on a regular basis.
If you have been a smoker for any length of time, you are at a higher risk of tooth loss than those who haven’t. It is best to stop smoking when you are younger, or better still don’t start, as less damage will hopefully have occurred. It is never too late to stop though and there is now more support and nicotine substitutes available than ever before.
Some people are just more naturally susceptible to tooth loss because of their hereditary genes. There is nothing that you can do about this, but looking after your teeth at home and through professional dental care will help to delay any tooth loss.
Accidents and teeth grinding
There are many things that can damage our teeth, from a poor diet to unexpected accidents. Those who suffer from stress may also grind their teeth at night, causing them to weaken and making them more prone to damage, with eventual tooth loss a distinct possibility.
When prevention fails
Preventative measures never fail. This does not mean that you won’t lose your teeth, but it is almost certain that without these measures it would have occurred much sooner. If you do lose all of your natural teeth though, all is not lost and there are still treatments available at Blue Sky Dental than can provide you with a suitable set of artificial replacement teeth.
For most people, the first consideration where edentulism is the problem is to consider dentures. Full sets of dentures for both arches would needed in this instance. Modern dentures offer a surgery free way of replacing missing teeth and are more refined and natural looking than the type of dentures that some may be more familiar with, perhaps through their grandparents wearing them. Despite this though, they don’t offer full functionality for many people. Eating some foods can prove to be very difficult and many people simply eliminate these from their diet. This can take some of the enjoyment out of eating.
Even the best quality dentures may also become unstable, not because of their quality, but the fact that when teeth are lost, the bone in the jaw degrades and the face changes shape, progressively leaving the dentures less well fitting than before.
All on 4
Perhaps a less well known method of full mouth replacement is through a procedure known as an ‘all on 4’ or ‘same day implants’. This does involve a surgical procedure, but one which has been carried out many times by our experienced dental implant team and which has a very high success rate. Essentially, four or six dental implants are placed into each arch at appropriate positions. Special implants are used at the rear which offer additional stability. Once these have been placed, unlike individual implant placement where a wait is necessary, a fixed bridge of teeth can be attached straight away, securing them firmly in place.
Whilst a similar procedure can be used to stabilise dentures, a fixed bridge offers a more refined method of replacing a full arch of missing teeth. You will also be able to eat immediately afterwards but we do advise a softer diet initially, partially for your own comfort. We can advise you further during your consultation with us.
If you no longer have any natural teeth, or are even missing just a few, you would likely benefit from learning more about the various implant methods of tooth replacement that we can offer.
If you would like to arrange a consultation to see us, please call our Chelmsford dental clinic on 01245 211070.