Edentulism is tooth loss that mostly affects older adults. While tooth loss is considered an unavoidable part of the aging process, significant changes in oral disease patterns, poor dental care, and lifestyle changes also contribute to edentulism.
There are two basic types of edentulism:
1. Partial Edentulism – The loss of one or more teeth.
2. Complete Edentulism – The loss of all teeth.
What Are the Causes of Edentulism?
The factors that contribute to edentulism are:
- Gum disease
- Old fillings
- Gum recession
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Teeth grinding
- Certain medications that lead to dry mouth or affect your gums
- Age and genetics
- Certain health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Poor oral hygiene
- Taking foods that are rich in carbohydrates, sugar, and acid
- Treatments like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunosuppressive medications
Impact of Edentulism on Oral Health
Tooth loss affects your oral health and leads to:
1. Normal Physiology Modification
Edentulism leads to bone loss, which affects the mandible four times more than the maxilla. Tooth loss can have a significant effect on residual ridge resorption that leads to a reduction in the size of the denture bearing area and the height of the alveolar bone. This further affects the facial appearance and leads to changes in the soft-tissue profile, such as protrusion of the mandibular chin and lip.
2. Impaired Mastication
Partial or complete tooth loss leads to chewing difficulties. This disability can influence the desire to chew, bite, and swallow, which can then harm diet and food selection.
3. Oral Health Deficiency
Tooth loss can be accompanied by sensory and functional deficiencies of the salivary glands, oral musculature, and oral mucosa. It also decreases tissue resistance and regeneration, which impairs the protection function of the oral mucosa.
Edentulism may cause oral dyskinesia, which is referred to as abnormal, purposeless, and involuntary orofacial movements. It is also associated with tardive dyskinesia, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary jaw and face movements.
Impact of Edentulism on General Health
Tooth loss can impact your general health and lead to:
- Decreased physical activity, quality of life, and daily function
- Lower intake of vegetables, fiber, fruits, and carotene
- Increased intake of saturated fats and cholesterol
- Higher rates of duodenal or peptic ulcers
- Increased risk of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and chronic kidney disorders
- Obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, electrocardiographic abnormalities, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, aortic valve sclerosis, and stroke
Options to Replace Missing Teeth
Tooth loss can have a significant impact on your general and oral health, but you can get rid of that by replacing your missing teeth with any one of the following options:
They are used to replace one or a few missing teeth. They can be easily cleaned and maintained. However, they require the preparation of adjacent teeth and have a higher rate of failure than dental implants.
They are used to replace some or all missing teeth. Both fixed and removable dentures are available. Fixed dentures are supported by dental implants. Dentures are less expensive, but they are difficult to keep clean and are not stable and efficient like dental implants.
3. Dental Implants
Dental implants are an advantageous option than dentures and bridges. They can be used to replace even a single missing tooth or support bridges or dentures. Implants do not require the preparation of adjacent teeth and are easy to maintain. They will function and look like your natural teeth. Implants can be expensive, but its durability outweighs the cost. Dental implants can last 5 to 8 times longer than bridges and dentures.
Contact Plaza Dental Group if you are looking for a dentist for dental implants in Des Moines.