Comprehensive dental care is more than just a pretty face. It should also create comfort, confidence, and vitality, adding years to your life, and life to your years. Because nothing is more important to your wellbeing than an even bite and an easy smile.
Your bite is designed naturally to function comfortably and efficiently for a lifetime, but with time comes compromises, and all sorts of things can alter your bite. Not only accidents or trauma, but also things of good intention, like having otherwise healthy teeth removed for orthodontics, or a filling or crown that is left just a little off. Decay is always lurking, but I see far fewer teeth failing because of decay than in the past–accolades and kudos for our profession! And of course, periodontal issues can cost valuable bone support. Or bad habits. Everybody could list a large number of things that can change your bite from the ideal.
Once one tooth is lost, the process of bite collapse can begin, and it is, alas, progressive. You may be fine functioning with one less tooth, but eventually, the various methods that you may subconsciously employ to compensate will affect everything. Teeth shift, the bite changes, and your muscles respond by repositioning your jaw for a better bite. This in turn creates muscle issues with the TMJs, which can lead to ringing in the ears, and to life-threatening disorders like sleep apnea.
How your teeth come together can very directly affect how your life comes together. Believe me, we see it every day.
As with any disease, it is best to treat it as early as possible, which usually enables it to be treated more successfully, and faster, and more easily than letting it progress to a crisis point. Sometimes, for example, the solution for a sore tooth is extremely minor, involving little more than selective polishing of the tooth or crown, but left untreated, with the patient trying to “tough it out,” it can progress to breakage, or to needing a root canal, or even an extraction. And the more extensive the problem, the greater the costs, in time and money, but also in overall health and well-being. We always tell our patients that there are no extra points for being a hero. None. Nada. Zilch. You have a problem, and we want to treat it yesterday.
Carly Simon was right: I Haven’t Got Time for the Pain. Or, one of our favorite lines is “Pain? Who Needs It?”
There is a saying about how, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. There is also the story about the blind men and the elephant, where each person describes what the elephant must be based on what part of the animal they are feeling…
The moral of the stories, of course, is that you want as broad a picture as possible from someone with a great deal of experience, expertise, and training to weigh in to develop a complete understanding. Someone who has an appreciation of the benefits, and of the limitations, of a variety of treatments, and who can tailor their recommendations and treatments on what is best for you, in your situation.
Over the years we have been caring for patients, we have progressed through the major advancements of modern dentistry. We no longer look at individual teeth first, but rather to the whole person. We evaluate posture, profiles, eyes, noses, and ears. We take scans, when indicated, to evaluate breathing restrictions, and sinus symmetry. We check the jaw for noises, and often we screen for sleep disorders. We watch how the teeth interact during chewing, and the contours of your lips and tongue.
And, lastly, we look at your teeth, and how healthy they are. Because everything interrelates, and if you don’t know what you are looking for, and why, you will likely not find it.
About the Author
Dr. Russ Teasdale has served the Portland community for over 30 years, and he works diligently to ensure that his patients benefit from the latest techniques and technologies in dentistry. To learn more about how he can help you finally put your teeth, jaw, and head pain behind you, contact ADANW today.