THERE is still hope when one or more teeth are suddenly lost in accidents. Chances are, the natural tooth or teeth may be reattached, provided that dental attention is sought within 30 minutes. Before doing that, however, place the tooth or teeth in a glass or container of cold milk, according to Dr. Joseph Orrico, president of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID).
Time is of the essence on replacing teeth this way. “There’s a short window of opportunity in which the remaining living tissue on the root surface can be kept alive,” Dr. Orrico says, adding that milk has a neutral acidity (ph) balance and is fortified with vitamins that make it an excellent preservative.
When tooth or teeth preservation is unsuccessful, a root canal procedure saves the tooth structure and restores it with a crown. That is, when teeth are broken above the gum line. If a tooth is fractured below the gum line, the fragment is extracted and a dental implant, a bridge or a removable dental prosthesis is put in place. Age is a factor in determining which treatment to use because bone loss in the jaw of young people over the years could be significant for young patients with bridges or removable and unsecured prostheses.
In comparison, implants function like natural teeth and preserve the jawbone.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of titanium screws that are inserted into the jawbone and affixed with a prosthetic tooth or crown. It replaces one or more teeth depending on the bone’s ability to support the implants.
In a process called osseointegration, titanium implants fuse naturally with bone over time. Implants function the same way as natural teeth, preventing the jaw structure against atrophy caused by bone loss. While bridgework and dentures may replace missing teeth, they do not prevent bone loss. This is because permanent implants enable a person to maintain his or her chewing functions properly. The action exerts natural forces on the jawbone just like natural teeth do.
Based in Chicago, the AAID is the first organization in the United States dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of implant dentistry by supporting research and education to advance comprehensive implant knowledge. AAID offers a rigorous implant dentistry credentialing program which requires at least 300 hours of post-doctoral instruction in implant dentistry, passing a comprehensive exam and presenting to a group of examiners successful cases of different types of implants.
It is one of the most comprehensive credentialing programs in dentistry.
Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, President/CEO of Dr. Smile Dental Care & Laser Center and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy and the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or text 0917-8591515