Tags Posts tagged with "Dentures"

Dentures

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How Teeth Affect the Length and Shape of Your Face
©Eclypse78/Shutterstock.com

Most people know that teeth help us speak and chew food.  However, an important, often overlooked function of teeth is that they help keep your face as long as it is.

Shorter Face Due to Lost TeethHave you ever noticed how older people sometimes look like their face was compressed together?  Often this is because they have lost teeth, and their jawbones have gradually gotten smaller over time.

If you open your mouth all of the way and then close it, you’ll hit on your teeth.  If you didn’t have any teeth, you would be able to close down much further, which would make your face appear to be shorter.

The picture above shows an elderly man who removed his dentures for the picture.  As you can see, without any teeth to hold his jaw bones apart, the space between the tip of his nose and chin is shorter than you would see in someone with teeth.  Also, you can see that his mouth area appears to be slightly puckered inwards because he doesn’t have any teeth to support the his lips and the area around his mouth.

Here’s a couple more photos to demonstrate this point. Here’s a profile view of an older man missing his teeth:

How Teeth Affect Shape of Face Side View
A Side view showing lower jaw coming forward and space between nose and chin getting smaller | ©Eclypse78/Shutterstock.com

And here’s a front view of the same man:

How Teeth Affect Shape of Face Front View
A Front view of the same man showing a small VDO | ©Eclypse78/Shutterstock.com

The technical name for the space between the jawbones when the teeth are touching is called the vertical dimension of occlusion or VDO for short.  If you’re curious about the relative lengths of a face with a normal VDO, look at this image on Google Images.

Ways Your Face Gets Shorter When You Lose the Vertical Dimension of Occlusion

Anything that causes you to lose teeth or tooth structure, can alter your VDO and thus make your face look shorter.  Here’s a list of a handful of things that can cause you to lose some VDO and make your face look shorter:

1- Losing teeth, especially the back teeth that bear a lot of the force when you bite down.

2 – Grinding your teeth. As you grind, you wear away tooth structure and your teeth get shorter, which causes your whole face to get shorter!

3 – Getting cavities. Cavities also eat away tooth structure and can cause your bite to collapse.

4 – Having Your Teeth Drift. This goes hand-in-hand with losing teeth.  Sometimes when you lose teeth, the neighboring teeth will drift into the empty spot (this is why spacers are important in kids!)  As the teeth drift, the top teeth and bottom teeth don’t come together like they used to, which can cause you to have a deeper bite and a shorter face.

Conclusion

As you can see from what I’ve written above, the main causes of losing facial height are due to preventable dental diseases.

By regularly going to your dentist you can treat cavities so that you don’t lose your teeth and you can also get appliances to help you stop grinding your teeth so that you don’t grind them away.

Do you have any questions or comments about this article?  I’d love to hear them in the comments section below – Thanks for reading!

FYI – This was supposed to be yesterday’s article, but my hard drive crashed Thursday night, I got a replacement yesterday at Best Buy and now I’m up and running again!

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Most Likely Places to Get a Cavity
©Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Imagine you are in the dental office and the dentist is showing you on a screen where in your mouth you are most likely to get cavities, much like in the picture below.

Where Cavities Occur on TeethWouldn’t that advice be invaluable?  It would probably help you know where to concentrate when you brush.

Although you’re not sitting in my dental chair, I can still tell you in general the six most common places where you’re most likely to get a cavity.

Six Common Places Where You Can Get Cavities/Dental Decay

1 – In the grooves on the chewing surface of your back teeth. There are many grooves that run in the teeth.  These are called fissures.  There are also pits.  Some molar teeth have pits on the side of them that commonly get cavities.  You can find these pits on the tongue side of your upper molars and on the cheek side of your lower molars.

2 – In between your teeth. In a normal mouth, all the teeth touch each other on each side except for the ones all the way in the back.  In the area between the teeth, it is hard to fit a toothbrush and easy for plaque to grow and create a cavity, especially if you’re not flossing daily!

3 – At the margins of fillings, crowns, bridges, and other dental work.  Sometimes the tooth/restoration interface isn’t as smooth as we’d like it to be.  This area between the restoration and the tooth is an easy place for plaque to grow.  White fillings don’t last as long as silver fillings, so if you want a long-lasting filling, ask your dentist if you can have a silver amalgam filling.

4 – On the tooth just above the gumline. This is a common place for cavities.  I have seen it a lot in people who drink lots of energy drinks and soda pop.  It is believed that acids can pool around the gumline and attack the teeth, creating a cavity.

Here’s a list of nine drinks that can dissolve your teeth if you drink them frequently!

5 – On the roots of teeth. When you have periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease — a leading cause of tooth loss), the bone and gums that surround the teeth gradually fall down.  This exposes the root surface of the teeth.  The root surface is much softer than the hard enamel shell that encases the tops of our teeth.  It is much easier for cavities to occur on the root surface, which is why it’s important to catch periodontal disease in its initial phases and treat it.

6 – Teeth that are right next to a partial denture. It is easy for food to get trapped between a partial denture and the natural teeth.  Plus, there’s usually a metal appliance that fits around the tooth making it easy for plaque to grow.  If you have a partial denture, ask your dentist or denal hygienist for methods to help you keep your remaining teeth healthy.  They can come up with an oral hygiene program tailor-made for you.

Conclusion

Hopefully that gives you some new ideas on how you can better take care of your teeth.  Make sure you’re brushing the grooves and pits of your teeth and flossing to get between them.  If you find that when you floss around a filling, you can’t get the floss to go down or come back up from between the tooth, you should go visit your dentist so that he or she can fix the filling so you don’t get a new cavity around it.

Do you have any questions or comments about how and where cavities occur?  Type them below in the comments section.  Even if you have a story to share about your cavity, go ahead and leave it below in the comments.  Thanks for reading!

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Reasons Dentists Take Impressions of Your Teeth
©Milos Jubicic/Shutterstock.com

As I’ve been assisting the third and fourth-year dental students in the clinic over the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity of taking quite a few impressions on many different patients.

Taking an Alginate Dental Impression - Photo Courtesy of SuperWebDeveloperI think the whole impression and plaster pouring ordeal is kind of interesting.  However, many students and patients don’t seem to love it. The whole process is a bit messy.  Inevitably, the patient needs help removing the impression material that got stuck on his or her face.  Also, it leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Oddly enough, it doesn’t appear as though the man to the left is having the time of his life while his impression is being taken. So why do we take those dental impressions anyways?

Why Dentists Need to Take Impressions of Your Mouth

A dentist might need an impression of your teeth for many reasons.  A few of the more common reasons are: