Tooth Loss and Cavities
There is a direct relationship between tooth loss and cavities. Left untreated, tooth decay can lead to a number of serious oral health issues including mobility and tooth loss. Once patients lose teeth, it can affect their ability to chew and talk and diminish self-esteem. If you have sustained decay, damage, or tooth loss, visit our Bridgewater, VA, dental practice as soon as possible. We can examine your teeth and gums to customize a treatment plan that will restore your health.
For missing teeth, our dentists often use dental implants to replace teeth for a natural, healthier smile. During a consultation, we can determine if this restorative treatment is right for you. We will explain the process to improve appearance and function.
What Causes Cavities?
A cavity forms when bacteria erode the protective layer of a tooth. This damage can lead to holes and small openings. Cavities can affect individuals of all ages and are especially prevalent in young children, teens, and older adults. Various factors can cause tooth decay.
A build-up of plaque is one of the most common reasons. Plaque is a sticky, clear film that develops on teeth. It can form when an individual eats and drinks too many sugary foods and beverages. When a patient does not remove the plaque adequately, it continues to collect harmful bacteria.
The cumulation of plaque can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar can develop above or beneath the gum line and is hard to remove. Plaque needs to be professionally removed by a dentist at our Bridgewater office to improve your oral health.
How Does Decay Cause Tooth Loss?
Plaque contains acids that can deteriorate teeth. The plaque begins by eating away at the surface of the teeth, the enamel. Afterward, the plaque can reach the dentin, which is the next layer of the teeth. Dentin is softer and is not able to resist acid as much as the enamel.
The more acids and bacteria penetrate the tooth, the more damage they do. Eventually, the pulp, or the center, of the tooth is affected. Patients typically experience pain and discomfort. When the pulp is infected and not treated, tooth loss can occur.
Dental Implant Procedure
If you have one or more missing teeth, you can visit our practice to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants. These titanium posts are used to restore tooth roots. Once healed, they can be restored with crowns, bridges, or even dentures.
Our medical team begins by making small incisions in the gums and placing a small titanium implant into the jawbone. The posts remain for about four to six months to allow them to fully fuse with the bone.
As you heal, we can fit you with a temporary restoration. Once the implant is integrated, our dentist will attach an abutment to the implant. The doctor will place a natural-looking crown that will match your surrounding teeth.
What Should I Expect?
At our Staunton office, our dentists use the most gentle methods possible to minimize pain and discomfort after surgery. We provide patients with specific instructions on how to care for their new dental implants. You should keep all your scheduled appointments to ensure your implants are functioning as intended.