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    « Dr. Hettinger Performs His 4,000th Root Canal Therapy | Main | New Survey on Kid's Dental Health: Swap Out My Sippy Cup, Mom! »
    Monday
    Feb112013

    Tooth Loss: What If You Can't Afford Dental Implants Right Now?

    Most of us know about "tooth loss". 

    And you might  also know about dental implants, artificial replacements for your natural teeth. But what if for some reason, you just can't invest in a dental implant at this time?

    This blog post is about a  relatively minimal dental procedure that could change what you do when you have a tooth extracted. If you think you will ever want a dental implant where your soon-to-be-gone tooth is, read on... 

    Problem: What Really Happens When You Lose a Tooth?

    Nobody likes to lose a tooth. And it's pretty obvious that you'll have a gape or hole in your smile. We all know that part.

    But did you also know that when you lose a tooth, almost immediately, a natural biological process starts where the bone around the former tooth starts melting away.  That's right. The bone detects that there is no tooth there anymore, so the volume of bone in that immediate area of your mouth decreases. You can lose as much as 60% of the bone volume around an extracted tooth ultimately.

    So what you may say? Who is going to see that?

    Truthfully, if the tooth is way back inside your mouth, outside "the smile zone", not many are going to see that. (However, you should know that losing a tooth and leaving an empty spot may affect the positioning of your surrounding teeth. Maybe you've heard the old adage, "Nature abhors a vacuum." )

    But what if the tooth in is your smile zone?  And what if you can't decide or maybe afford a dental implant to replace the tooth but may want one later? How do you preserve your options?

    Solution: Ridge Preservation Preserves Your Dental Options

    In my dental practice, when someone has a tooth extracted, I always offer them the option to have a ridge preservation procedure or socket graft done at the time of extraction.  This is a relatively small procedure adding only minutes to the entire treatment.

    If you believe there is any chance you may want to replace a tooth with a dental implant later, ridge preservation done at the time of tooth extraction is highly recommended. It not only better guarantees the stability of your dental implant installed later, it increases the chances of a better cosmetic result, allowing the dental implant and crown to look more like your natural tooth. 

    Because ridge preservation is so little known to most patients, I've written up a new section on my website.

    Check it out: Preserve your options with five minutes of reading!

     

    Related Posts and Other Webilicious Info

    Dental Implants - Frequently Asked Questions

    Front Row TM - An Affordable Cosmetic & Dental Alternative for Missing Front Teeth

     

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    Reader Comments (2)

    Is this a new thing ? or most of the dentists around the world do this procedure ?

    May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAleksandar

    Hi folks. Thanks for the comments! Victoria, actually my blog post here is not proposing alternatives to dental implants, but rather describing a lesser known pre-treatment (in a sense) that helps preserve your option for getting an implant later. Related to this actually, Aleksander, luckily, many dentists are using this now and have been for nearly 15 years.

    Still - I always advise folks on (bone) ridge preservation or a socket graft when they unfortunately need an extraction. If your dentist doesn't mention it, please ask them! Your jaw bone (and potential dental implant) will thank you later!

    September 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterPaul Hettinger, DMD

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