Desert Smiles Blog
Glendale Dentist Serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, and nearby areas in Arizona
Tooth enamel is harder than bone. It works to protect the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that comprise the pulp in each tooth’s center. Below the enamel of each tooth are the dentin and cementum layers. Like enamel, these layers are hard and work to protect the soft, non-calcified tissue in the pulp chamber.
Chips and cracks in tooth enamel can allow bacteria, acids, and food particles to enter the inner chamber of the tooth. There, debris can quickly spark an infection, resulting in toothache, abscess, and similar oral health concerns. Worse still, when left untreated, infection in the teeth and gums can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, increasing risks for heart attack and stroke, certain types of cancer, and other potentially deadly illnesses.
How is a Chipped Tooth Treated?
Glendale dentist Dr. Nathan Tenney offers several options for chipped teeth, including:
- Porcelain veneers. Placed over the front surface of teeth, dental veneers cover chips with a porcelain shell to help prevent further damage.
- Dental Crowns. Placed over the entire tooth, a dental crown can protect all surface areas from damage. Crowns are typically placed following root canal treatment to remove infection and debris from the pulp chamber of a tooth.
- Dental Bonding. Applied in layers to teeth that have become damaged or compromised, bonding is strong, protective, and cost-effective.
- Tooth-Colored Fillings. Filling, inlays, and onlays can all be used to protect compromised teeth. Which of these options is best will depend on the location and extent of the damage.
Treating a chipped tooth is a general dental service, but at Desert Smiles, it is accomplished with an eye towards cosmetic perfection. All of our tooth repair treatments are designed to produce natural-looking results that complement your entire smile. If you have multiple issues detracting from the health and beauty of your teeth, we can discuss additional treatment options during your time in our care.
Will I Have to Have a Root Canal?
Having a chipped tooth does not mean you have to have a root canal. Having an infected tooth does. Addressing chips and cracks as soon as they appear will help prevent infection.
You can further reduce your chances for a root canal, fillings, and other chipped tooth treatment options by protecting your teeth:
- Avoid chewing on ice and hard candy
- Don’t bite or chew on non-food items (like plastic)
- Brush your teeth after every meal and snack
- Floss morning and night
- Visit our office for cleanings every six months
Maintaining routine visits every six months helps ensure that problems, including chipped teeth, gum disease, and tooth decay, can be identified and treated early on. When addressed in its earliest stage, damage to tooth enamel can often be treated before discomfort begins and long before more invasive treatment options become necessary.
We are Here to Help
If you have a chipped tooth, call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule a treatment consultation right away. Located in Glendale, Dr. Tenney and our staff welcome patients living throughout the region, including the communities of Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Chandler.
If your smile is less than perfect, dental veneers may be the best solution. These thin, tooth-colored restorations are placed over the front of teeth, enabling them to produce a strong, healthy and beautiful appearance to teeth that have been impacted by:
- Chipped or cracked enamel
- Crooked tooth presentation
- Uneven or irregular tooth shapes and sizes
- Gaps and spaces between teeth
- Severe, below the enamel stains
Porcelain is an incredibly durable substance. Resistant to stains and scratches, porcelain also reflects light in the same way as tooth enamel, further enabling veneers to produce a life-like and completely natural-looking, albeit much more attractive, smile.
How Thick are Porcelain Veneers?
Generally speaking, dental veneers are around .5 millimeters in size. This enables the porcelain to maintain its natural translucency and better mimic tooth enamel while also allowing veneers to fit over teeth with very little preparation. However, while very thin, veneers are still too dense to be placed on top of unprepared teeth.
To place dental veneers, a small amount of your natural tooth enamel will need to be removed. This gentle contouring of the teeth allows veneers to fit snugly and perfectly into the smile. It will also make the process irreversible.
Tooth enamel does not grow back. It can be fortified, but it cannot be restored. Once the enamel has been removed for the placement of veneers, it will be necessary to keep veneers or another restoration, such as dental bonding, in place at all times. Fortunately, this poses little to no problem for most patients. Veneers, when cared for properly, can last for decades and can be replaced individually as needed to keep the smile flawless without requiring a complete smile makeover.
Are There No-Prep Veneers?
There are dental veneers that do not require tooth preparation. Lumineers®, the brand with the most name recognition, is a no-prep veneer manufactured in China. At around .3mm thick, Lumineers® are suitable for some patients, but not thin enough to place without preparation for all.
We offer Durathin® veneers. Manufactured in Utah, these no-prep veneers are thinner than Lumineers®, making them easier to place without first removing tooth enamel. However, because they are not as thick as the traditional veneers we offer, they are not as effective at addressing pronounced cosmetic imperfections.
We have found that prep-less dental veneers are suitable for around 25% of patients. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn if you are one of them.
Porcelain Veneer Durability
MAC Veneers are stronger, more durable, and more life-like than many other brands of dental veneer. This is one of the main reasons we have chosen to place this brand. When cared for properly, MAC veneers can last for 20 years or more.
While much thinner, Durathin® veneers are also able to produce results for years at a time. As with traditional porcelain veneers, with proper care, no-prep dental veneers can be expected to produce results for 20 years or more.
How do I Care for My Veneers?
To care for dental veneers, do:
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste to brush after every meal and snack
- Floss in between all teeth before brushing both morning and night
- Visit our office for biannual cleanings and examinations
To keep your veneers strong and attractive, do not:
- Bite ice, hard candy, or non-food items
- Grind your teeth
- Use an abrasive toothpaste
- Use a mouthwash with alcohol
Following these simple steps can help keep your veneers strong and attractive for decades at a time. During your routine visits to our office, we will provide you with individual recommendations as well, helping to ensure your smile remains healthy and beautiful for life.
Contact Desert Smiles to Learn More
To schedule a free cosmetic dentistry consultation at our Glendale office, please call 602-978-1790 today. We welcome patients from Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa, and all surrounding areas of Arizona.
Opalescence Boost teeth whitening is a safe, comfortable and effective way to brighten your smile. This in-office tooth whitening treatment takes only one hour to perform and can lighten your teeth several shades in that time. Offering a vastly superior alternative to store-bought teeth whitening kits, Boost whitening is especially useful for men and women who require immediate results.
Dr. Tenney and the staff at Desert Smiles work hard to ensure every patient is provided the most effective treatment for his or her needs. If your smile is stained, discolored, or dingy, we welcome an opportunity to meet with you, listen to your concerns, and help you choose the best solution for your needs.
How is Boost Different?
Boost is different than other chairside tooth whitening treatments in that it does not require a laser or heat to activate. This helps ensure your treatment is more comfortable.
Boost is formulated even further to protect your comfort with the addition of potassium nitrate and fluoride, which work in tandem to prevent tooth sensitivity and strengthen tooth enamel. This unique formulation allows Boost to provide optimal whitening with maximal comfort. It’s even formulated to continue working after application to help prevent shade relapse.
What can Boost Teeth Whitening Treat?
Opalescence Boost can treat a variety of stains and discolorations including those caused by:
- The aging process
- Sodas and sports drinks
- Dark-colored foods and sauces
- Coffee and tea
- Red wine
- Tobacco use
In some cases, in-office teeth whitening may be used to treat deeper stains as well. The best way to determine if the treatment is ideal for your needs is through a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Tenney. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
Why Choose Professional Teeth Whitening?
There are certainly a number of take-home options available at the store when it comes to whitening teeth. Most of them are okay. They are not, however, nearly as effective as professional teeth whitening.
Professional teeth whitening is faster, more comfortable, less irritating, and more effective than store-bought options. Professional-strength teeth whitening solution is formulated to be both more effective and more comfortable, and these unique formulations are not available over-the-counter.
In-office whitening is performed by our experienced cosmetic dentist. Our take-home kits come with a custom-made and precisely fitted application tray. With both treatments, risks of uneven results or soft tissue irritation are greatly reduced. During your free teeth whitening consultation, we can discuss these benefits in greater detail and answer any cosmetic dentistry questions that you might have.
Contact Us Today
If you are interested in scheduling a free cosmetic dentistry consultation at our Glendale office, please call 602-978-1790 today. Desert Smiles welcomes patients from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Peoria, and all surrounding areas of Arizona.
Malocclusion is the misalignment of teeth. It may present as:
- Open bite
- Tooth crowding
- Crooked presentation
- Gaps and spaces
The most common treatment for malocclusion is braces – often placed during childhood or adolescence to address the problem before the jaw hardens and teeth become more difficult to move.
Malocclusion in Adults
Malocclusion in adults is far from uncommon. In some cases it is largely aesthetic, posing dissatisfaction with appearance, but not necessarily function. However, it is possible for malocclusion in adults to result in more serious issues such as bruxism, problems speaking and chewing, speech irregularities, and increased risks for tooth decay and gum disease.
Treating malocclusion in adults is similar to treating the condition in younger patients and is often accomplished with wire and bracket braces. Treatment with braces is incredibly effective – even in adult mouths – though it can take several years once jawbone is set and may require frequent, painful adjustments over the course of treatment.
Invisalign® for Adults
Invisalign is an alternative to braces for adults who are struggling with minor to moderate malocclusion. Unlike braces, which are affixed to the teeth, Invisalign treatment is completed with a series of clear aligners that work to gradually move teeth into their optimal position. Each set of aligners works to move the teeth slightly more, which is similar to manual adjustment of braces, but often less invasive and painful.
There are several benefits offered by Invisalign including:
- The clear aligners are nearly invisible, making them more cosmetically appealing
- The soft plastic of the aligners will not irritate gums or cut soft oral tissue
- Removing the aligners eliminates dietary restrictions and problems maintaining oral hygiene
- Treatment is often completed in a fraction of the time required for wire and bracket alternatives
While there are several benefits of Invisalign for adults, there are some considerations that should be made as well:
- When removed, aligners can be misplaced or lost
- Aligners must be worn for 22+ hours a day to be effective
- Attachments that look like clear braces may be necessary for some patients
Invisalign is effective when used as directed. Successful treatment requires self-discipline and commitment, making it good for some patients, but not ideally suited to others.
The best way to learn if Invisalign is a good solution for your needs is through a frank and honest discussion with Dr. Nathan Tenney at the Glendale office of Desert Smiles. During this consultation, Dr. Tenney can assess your level of malocclusion, discuss all of your options, and help you choose the most effective treatment for your needs.
Some adults are good candidates for instant orthodontics – the treatment of minor malocclusion with dental veneers. With this option, veneers and other treatments can be combined to produce a straight and attractive smile without orthodontic intervention.
Instant orthodontics is primarily cosmetic, but can improve some function and restore comfort to the bite. If this is a suitable option in your case, Dr. Tenney can provide you with more information during your free, one-on-one consultation.
To schedule your complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation at Desert Smiles, please call 602-978-1790 today. Located in Glendale, we welcome patients from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, and all surrounding areas of Arizona.
A facelift is a surgical procedure during which incisions are made next to or behind the ears, allowing underlying tissue and muscle to be manipulated and lifted into a firmer and more youthful position. The typical facelift costs around $7,500 and can produce a tighter and more lifted look, but it cannot add volume to areas of the face that have become sunken-in or hollowed due to aging.
While there is no dental equivalent to a surgical facelift, there are a number of cosmetic and restorative procedures that can be combined to address issues brought about by aging, trauma, uncorrected bite issues, and TMJ. By addressing these types of issues, restorative and cosmetic services can help produce a more youthful, lifted, and attractive appearance, acting as an alternative to a more invasive (and riskier) surgical procedure.
Which Areas of the Face can be Restored?
Utilizing advanced cosmetic and restorative options, Dr. Tenney can address issues such as:
- Sunken lips
- Loose or hanging lip skin
- Jowls and turkey neck
- Sunken and hollow cheeks
- Recessed chin
Dr. Tenney also offers BOTOX® Cosmetic, a nonsurgical treatment for lines and wrinkles around the lips, next to the eyes, in between the eyebrows, and across the forehead. Combining dental treatments with this cosmetic service can often produce a significantly more youthful appearance while also addressing common dental problems including:
- Missing teeth
- Gaps and spaces
- Jaw misalignment
If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact our Glendale office right away to learn if a dental alternative to facelift surgery would be useful for your needs.
Which Procedures Can be Used to Produce a More Lifted and Youthful Appearance?
To lift sunken areas of the face and produce a more youthful and vibrant appearance, Dr. Tenney may choose from a variety of treatments. Some of the most popular include restorative options such as:
- Dental implants to replace one or two missing teeth
- Dental bridges to replace several missing teeth in a row
- Dentures or partials to replace an entire arch or longer row of missing teeth
Dental implants serve the dual purpose of providing a solid foundation for restorations, including bridges and dentures, while preventing jaw shrinkage and collapse – which helps preserve fullness in the lips and surrounding areas.
In addition to restorative services, cosmetic treatments that can help lift and add volume to and around the lips include:
- Dental veneers
- Porcelain crowns
- Cosmetic enamel contouring
- Gum reshaping
Cosmetic services may be combined with things like a nightguard to prevent bruxism and help preserve both tooth structure and jaw stability. Various orthodontic options may also be utilized to help correct bite issues for a straight, strong, and beautiful smile. During your free consultation with Dr. Tenney, we can help you determine which procedure or combination of procedures will meet your specific needs and produce the look you most desire.
Contact us to Learn More
If the idea of a more youthful appearance is appealing to you but you’re not certain facelift surgery is the best option, call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule a complimentary consultation and see how we can help. Located in Glendale, Dr. Tenney welcomes patients from all surrounding areas including Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Peoria.
Dental implants offer the strongest, most reliable, and longest-lasting solution for the replacement of missing teeth. Traditional dental implants are inserted directly into the jaw where they undergo a process called osseointegration, during which osteoblasts and connective tissue adhere to tiny holes on the implant's surface and securing it into bone. This process serves two important functions:
- It helps to ensure that the implant will not come loose or fall out
- It allows the implant to replace the missing tooth’s root, thereby preventing the otherwise unavoidable issue of jaw shrinkage
The roots of teeth serve serval functions, not the least of which is supplying signals to the body that bone is needed in that specific area of the jaw. No root means no signal, which often results in the body reabsorbing minerals around the missing tooth and creating a sunken or collapsed appearance to the jaw. Dental implants are the only type of tooth replacement that addresses this issue.
What Happens When There is Insufficient Bone in the Jaw?
Traditional dental implants are typically four to five millimeters in size. In order for these implants to be effective, your jaw must have sufficient width and depth to support them. When your jaw lacks sufficient density, you may be presented with a few different options: undergo bone grafting surgery to add bulk to the jaw, have mini dental implants placed, or look to a solution like a dental bridge or adhesive-supported dentures.
Dental bridges are certainly a workable option. Strong, reliable, and attractive, a bridge can be secured to porcelain dental crowns placed over adjacent teeth, enabling them to restore both function and aesthetics to the smile. This prevents adjacent tooth slippage while restoring bite tension and strength, and is a fantastic solution for some of our patients. What dental bridges cannot do is prevent further bone loss. This means that, over time, your bridge will have to be adjusted to accommodate your shrinking jaw.
Adhesive-secured dentures are not as reliable, attractive, or strong as dental bridges and are not typically recommended by Dr. Tenney.
Mini Dental Implants
While smaller in diameter, mini dental implants are still inserted directly into your jaw, making them a more secure option than a dental bridge while allowing them to help prevent structural changes to your jaw. If you are not a good candidate for traditional implants and bone grafting is not a suitable option, mini dental implants may be the best treatment available.
At our Phoenix-area office, mini dental implants are used to secure dentures for optimal strength and support. As opposed to adhesives, which can become unstuck and allow dentures to slip or fall out, implant-supported dentures stay securely in place.
Dr. Tenney offers different implant-supported denture options including:
- Bar retained – for full dentures supported by mini implants placed at intervals
- Ball retained – for partial dentures supported by single implants
As with any restorative service, the option that is best for your needs will be based on several factors unique to your desires and your anatomy. During your initial consultation, Dr. Tenney will carefully assess your teeth and gums, provide you with honest information about all of your options, and help you decide which treatment will produce the best results in your case.
To learn if mini dental implants are right for your smile, call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Tenney today. Located in Glendale, we welcome patients from all surrounding Arizona communities, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.
There are a number of different tooth whitening options and cost is very much dependent on which type you choose. In-office services – like Phillips Zoom! – typically start around $500 and go up in cost depending on the number of treatments needed and the severity of your tooth stains. This option is fast and effective but can be incredibly pricey to maintain as continued results often require several visits a year.
Less expensive but not less effective are the take-home options offered by Dr. Tenney at Desert Smiles. These customized application trays conform to your teeth, helping to ensure consistent whitening while minimizing the risks of tooth sensitivity and tissue irritation. Typically, the cost per set ranges from $200 to $600. This one-time expense provides you with trays that can be used as frequently as needed with professional-strength whitening gel supplied by our office.
What about Over-the-Counter Products?
Store-bought kits range in price from $25 to $150 and come with application trays and bleaching gel. Whitening strips may cost as little as $10, but are more often in the $20 range. Whitening toothpaste, the least expensive option, can range from $3 to $10 or more, depending on the formulation.
These low prices for tooth whitening may seem attractive, but they are often a waste of time and money and may even lead to increased tooth sensitivity, irritation of soft tissue, and inconsistent results.
The Benefits of Professional Tooth Whitening Kits
The two biggest benefits offered by our personalized tray-whitening kits are:
- Customized application trays help ensure consistent whitening of every tooth in your mouth while reducing the risk of solution seepage. By keeping the whitening solution in place, gums, the tongue, and the cheeks are protected from irritation
- The professional strength whitening solution we offer is not available OTC. The active ingredient in our solution is free elemental oxygen, which oxidizes stains to remove them permanently, safely, and comfortably – and because you keep the customized application trays, results can be maintained as you see fit, in the privacy of your own home, at the convenience of your preferred schedule
It is important to remember that any toothpaste can claim to be “whitening,” but even the most expensive among them can only remove stains from the surface of teeth. Whitening strips cover the front teeth, but a full smile will reveal highly noticeable color differences, and OTC tray whiteners – even those with “boil and bite” applicators – often produce inconsistent results while increasing tooth sensitivity and tissue irritation. When considered honestly, professional tooth whitening from a trusted cosmetic dentist is the safest, fastest, and most reliable method of brightening your smile.
Contact Desert Smiles to Learn More
If you are considering tooth whitening in Glendale or surrounding areas of Arizona, please contact Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tenney. We welcome patients from Scottsdale, Peoria, and all nearby communities.
It has been suggested that a majority of American adults will, at some point in their lives, encounter gum disease. In many cases, this encounter will be easy to reverse and short-lived, but in others, special treatments may be needed to address the problem. Scaling and root planing are one of these methods.
During the scaling portion of this treatment, deep cleaning of the teeth – all the way to the root – will be used to remove calculus, tartar, and debris. Depending on the extent of build-up, this may take some time, but it is necessary for the root planing portion.
During root planing, the roots of the teeth are smoothed. This allows gum tissue that has been separated from tooth enamel through pockets of infection to secure back to the teeth. Slightly more invasive than the scaling portion of treatment, root planing may require localized anesthetic. If you are nervous about your gum disease treatment, Dr. Tenney will be happy to discuss sedation dentistry options that can be used to ease your anxiety.
Do I Have Gum Disease?
Are your gums red and/or swollen? Do your gums bleed easily when brushed? Do they bleed when eating crunchy food? These are the beginning indications of gum disease and, if not addressed right away, they can easily give way to more worrisome symptoms such as:
- Pus in between the teeth
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Chronic halitosis
- Tooth loss
- Bone necrosis
Equally worrisome, once gum disease has progressed to the point of tooth loss, it is highly possible that the bacteria from the infected gums has made its way into the larger body systems where they have been shown to increase risks for:
- Heart disease
- Liver and kidney failure
- Breast cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Cancer of the head and neck
While some of these links are still preliminary, it has long been known that gum disease is a risk factor for systemic illness and premature death.
Treating Gum Disease
While scaling and root planing may become necessary to treat gum disease, improving your daily care can reverse it in its initial stages and will be essential for its prevention. Proper daily care includes:
- Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth when you wake, before you go to bed, and after every meal and snack
- Flossing before you brush both morning and night
- Using an antimicrobial/antibacterial mouthwash*
*A word of caution about mouthwash: there is some evidence suggesting mouthwash with alcohol increases risks for oral cancer. This same ingredient in mouthwash can also damage certain types of dental bonding and restorations. If you are selecting a mouthwash to add to your daily routine, be sure to discuss your options with Dr. Tenney to make sure you are choosing the best option for your needs.
Adding routine visits to our Glendale office for cleanings and examinations is important for your general oral health as well. These visits should take place every six months, enabling us to help prevent calculus and tartar from building up underneath your gum line.
If it has been longer than six months since your last dental visit or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, please call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule an appointment today. Located in Glendale, we welcome patients from Chandler, Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix, and Mesa.
Dental implants are inserted directly into the jaw. Once placed, implants undergo a process called osseointegration, during which osteoblasts and connective tissue secure to tiny holes on their surface, holding them fast in place. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that addresses a tooth’s missing root.
By replacing a tooth’s missing root, dental implants work to prevent structural changes to the jaw. Dentures and dental bridges, both of which rest above the gums, cannot prevent these changes and will, over time, need to be adjusted as bone in the jaw shrinks and collapses.
In addition to preserving jaw structure, dental implants are very unlikely to come loose or fall out. In fact, if you care for your implants as instructed, they should last for a lifetime. However, there are some things that are beyond your control that may necessitate dental implant removal.
Dental Implant Failure
A majority of dental implant procedures are successful. Those that are not often fail to integrate into bone in the first place. Reasons an implant may fail within the first few months include:
- Allergic reaction
- Rejection of foreign object in the body
- Lack of blood supply
- Poor health
- Certain autoimmune diseases
Early dental implant failure may also result from poor technique when placed. Dentists who overload an implant in an effort to speed results or who damage nerve or tissue while placing the implant may set a patient up for failure. This is just one reason your choice of implant dentist is so very important.
Dental implants take around six months to fully secure into the jaw. After this point, failure is extremely rare. Late stage dental implant failure may be a result of:
- Tooth grinding
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking and tobacco use
Radiation from cancer treatment, bone loss, and gum recession may cause an implant to fail as well.
Symptoms of a Failed Dental Implant
Symptoms of a failed dental implant may include:
- Pain and/or swelling around an implant
- Red and/or tender gum tissue
- A loose or shifting implant
- Difficulties chewing and/or biting
If you have dental implants and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to get in touch with Dr. Tenney. Through a hands-on evaluation, Dr. Tenney can determine if treatment is possible or if the implant will need to be removed entirely.
Dental Implant Removal
There are several methods for removing dental implants depending on the point at which they fail. While it may be easier to remove implants before they have integrated into bone, it is entirely possible to safely and effectively remove them once they have been secured as well. During your initial consultation, Dr. Tenney can discuss dental implant removal methods to help you understand your options and choose the one that will be best for your needs.
Please call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule a consultation today. Located in Glendale, we welcome patients from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, and all surrounding areas.
One of the many ways that drug and alcohol addiction can take a toll on someone's overall health and well-being is through the deterioration of that person's smile and dental health. Sadly, dental health is commonly overlooked in substance abuse programs.
Substance abuse programs typically focus on intervention and, while they may provide support programs for long-term sobriety, they do not tend to provide services for oral health issues commonly faced by recovering addicts such as:
- Dry mouth
- Acid enamel erosion
- Tooth decay
- Tooth infection and abscess
- Gum disease
- chipped , cracked, or broken teeth
- Bruxism (tooth grinding)
All of these issues compromise the health and strength of the teeth and greatly increase risks for tooth loss. In fact, excessive alcohol use makes tooth loss three-times more likely. These risks are similar, if not higher, with almost all illegal and illicit drugs as well. Meth addiction for example, can have a profound impact on oral health. A study conducted at UCLA found that 96% of people who struggled with meth addicition had cavities and 38% already had six or more missing teeth.
Risks Posed by Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can have a profound impact on the health, strength, and structure of the mouth. Even one missing tooth can allow adjacent teeth to slip out of place, thus changing bite tension and strength, and increasing the risks for additional tooth loss. At the same time, when a tooth is missing, bone surrounding the socket will begin to deteriorate. Over time, this will cause the jaw to shrink and collapse, resulting in changes to the structure of the teeth and the shape of the entire face.
Dental implants are the only type of tooth replacement that can prevent changes to the structure of the jaw, making them the most complete tooth replacement option.
Tooth Replacement and Addiction Recovery
Replacing missing teeth plays an important role in recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism. Having missing teeth replaced with natural-looking and functionally strong restorations can:
- Restore speaking abilities
- Restore proper tension and bite strength
- Prevent adjacent tooth slippage and additional tooth loss
- Restore an attractive appearance to the smile
- Help to affirm an individual's self esteem and self confidence
When tooth replacement is completed with dental implants, structural changes to the jaw are addressed as well.
To be a candidate for tooth replacement, you only need to be missing teeth. To be a good candidate for dental implants, however, additional considerations will need to be made.
Because jaw collapse is inevitable following tooth loss, people who have been missing teeth for some time may not have sufficient jaw bone density to support an implant. Bone grafting is an option but, just like the surgical placement of implants, grafting may require sedation - something many recovering addicts avoid so as to prevent rekindling the addiction.
We provide a safe, and welcoming environment with many drug-free options to improve and protect your comfort. If you are a recovering addict, talk to Dr. Tenney today about our drug-free treatment options that can help restore your smile to its strongest and most attractive state.
We Are Here to Help
Call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to learn more about our tooth replacement services for recovering addicts. We proudly serve men and women overcoming addiction in Glendale, Arizona, as well as the greater Phoenix, Scottsdale and Peoria communities.