If terminal dentition sounds a little serious, it’s meant to. It describes a situation where your teeth are in very bad shape and need to be removed and, preferably, replaced. Replacing your teeth with dental implants will give you a new, beautiful smile, fully functional teeth, greater comfort, and, overall, a higher quality of life.
Why You Need to Deal with Terminal Teeth
When you have reached the state of terminal dentition, you need to do something about it. Otherwise, more than your teeth will be in jeopardy. If you don’t have healthy teeth, your overall health will be in danger. Without healthy teeth, you will have to rely on processed foods, which are often short on nutrients and high on sugar, salt, and fat.
Your teeth also help support your jaw, neck, and spine. Without teeth to help anchor the jaw, you can develop TMJ and may find it hard to keep up an active lifestyle. Even walking can be more of a challenge without a good set of teeth.
Unhealthy teeth can also be dangerous. An infection of the gums around your teeth, called gum disease, can cause systemic inflammation that can lead to a host of health problems, from obesity to autoimmune diseases to cancer. But the strongest health condition linked to gum disease is heart disease. Oral bacteria can infect your heart or it can clog the arteries around the heart. Stroke, erectile dysfunction, and other cardiovascular problems are also linked to gum disease.
And if your teeth become infected, they can become a danger, too. These teeth can harbor bacteria that can spread from your tooth to your bones or sinuses. They can even spread to your brain. These infections can be deadly.
Are Your Teeth Terminal?
Only a dentist can tell for sure if you have terminal dentition. Many of your teeth might be saved, even if they look bad, hurt, or don’t function. But, in general, if you have these symptoms, you may have terminal dentition:
- You avoid many foods because chewing causes you pain
- You are continuing to lose teeth despite changes in oral hygiene and even gum disease treatment
- Your teeth make you look much older than you are
- Your teeth are loose and change position quickly
- You have discolored, decayed, or broken teeth
- You have persistent bad breath that doesn’t respond to normal treatment
- You don’t want to show your smile, not even to family and friends
These are signs that you are suffering serious dental problems, possibly terminal dentition. If you don’t have a dentist, it’s time to get one. If you do have a dentist, maybe it’s time to get a new one.
Reviving Your Smile
But even if you have terminal dentition, there is a solution. Your teeth can be removed and replaced with dental implants.
This is never something we want to undertake lightly–saving your teeth is usually the best solution. We will recommend gum disease treatment, root canals, and other procedures designed to save your teeth, if possible. If not, then we will recommend replacement.
At your first consultation, either Dr. Johnson or Dr. Burke will make a detailed study of the current condition of your mouth. We will take a combination of pictures, x-rays, cone beam computed tomography, and other tools to determine the exact state of your oral health. We may take physical impressions and digital ones to help us design your restorations. We’ll talk about the procedure and your goals. We’ll then design a set of restorations that meets your goals. We’ll talk over the plan and once we’re both happy with the concept. To ensure the best function after your natural teeth have been removed, we recommend dental implants.
Dental implants look and function just like your natural teeth. And they have the ability to last a lifetime.
If you are having dental implants placed, the surgery will come next. The number of dental implants we use depends on your functional goals. You will receive a temporary restoration that will look better than the natural teeth you lost and may function better, too. Function of your temporaries will vary.
After six months or so of healing, we will be able to place your final restorations, replacing your entire arch of teeth. These restorations will be very attractive and will function as you requested, they can function as well as your natural teeth ever did.
Are You Ready to Start Over with Your Smile?
Terminal dentition sounds very final, but it isn’t, necessarily. Terminal can mean an ending, but it can also refer to a station. Think of terminal dentition as the end of your journey with natural teeth, but the beginning of your journey with dental implants.