Look into the mirror and smile. What do you see? If you’re like most people, your upper teeth have center stage. Now try talking. Same thing, right? Compared to your upper teeth, your lower teeth aren’t very noticeable at all.
For that very reason, when it comes to dental care, it is common for people to focus on their upper teeth and not be as concerned about their lower teeth. Our own Dr. Cindy Brayer and registered dental hygienist Tiffany Fager recently sat down with Daytime TV’s Maggie Rodriguez to talk about what can happen when you neglect your lower teeth.
Ignore Your [Lower] Teeth and They’ll Go Away
“Patients are normally more concerned about their upper teeth because when you smile, you don’t see so much of those lower teeth. However, lower teeth are just as important as the upper teeth,” said Dr. Brayer.
Neglecting or improperly caring for your lower teeth can result in problems like:
- crowding and spacing issues
- wearing down and/or loosening teeth
- tooth loss
- gum recession
- bone loss
Our dental hygienist, Tiffany Fager, talked about some of the things that she’s seen as a result of patients not caring for their lower teeth.
“When a patient comes in [with stained teeth] and we clean their teeth, sometimes underneath the stain we will see that there is a cavity. So then the doctor will have to [treat the] cavity by doing a filling or maybe even a root canal,” she explained.
Tartar build-up can also be a problem when the lower teeth are neglected. As Fager noted, “[Tartar] gets under there and the build-up can cause gum recession, which can cause you to get black triangles between your teeth. [Those triangles appear] when there’s like no tissue between the teeth because its receded away.”
The impact of gum recession goes beyond the cosmetic. It can result in the lower teeth beginning to loosen, leading to eventual tooth loss.
Teeth that become crooked are often harder to clean, which can compound problems for the patient.
“[Teeth are] such a pain to clean when they’re crooked,” said Fager, adding, “It’s hard to get the floss in there. And if you don’t clean every time, then you’ll start to get the buildup besides the stain and the bad breath and everything. When they’re crooked, you get the buildup, which can again cause bone loss. And not only that, when they’re crooked, they can hit against your top teeth, and your top teeth can start chipping as well.”
Getting Your Lower Teeth Back in Good Dental Health
If you’ve been a little remiss in caring for your lower teeth and want to get them back in tip-top shape, what can you do? According to Dr. Brayer, it depends on the condition of your teeth.
Chipped Lower Teeth
“Let’s say you have straight teeth, but the top edges are chipped. What we would do at that point is we would put some sort of bonding or a composite veneer on top of them.”
“As you see in the photo, those are Componeers on the lower front teeth. It’s basically like a very thin shell that we put on top of the teeth. We make it so that it fits nicely, the bite is good, and it makes the teeth stronger.”
Crooked Lower Teeth
“If patients have crowding of their lower teeth, then we will straighten them. We [typically] use Invisalign, which is a really easy process that straightens [the teeth] within four to six months, and then we [have the patient wear a] retainer to keep them that way.”
Missing Bottom Front Teeth
“If patients are missing their bottom front teeth, then the most ideal solution is placing implants. We’ll place a couple of implants as you see [in the photo], and then we will put an implant bridge.”
“If we can’t place implants, but we want a fixed bridge, then we’ll put a bridge in. As you can see, they’re on to their natural teeth, but the only negative is that they really do lose some tooth structure there.
When patients can’t do implants or bridges, then we’ll do a removable partial denture. What I don’t like about that, though, is that it has to come on and off. So they can get food stuck in there.”
As you can see, there are many options we can use to fix your lower teeth. To find out which option is right for you, schedule your complimentary consultation today. We offer in-office and virtual appointments for your convenience.
Creating Smiles is one of Pinellas County’s leading providers of cosmetic and general dentistry services, including Invisalign, teeth whitening, dental implants, and oral cancer screenings. To schedule your in-office or virtual new patient consultation please call our St. Petersburg office (727-323-0377) or Clearwater office (727-791-8823).