Tooth Loss Facts

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Dec 10, 2019 2:23:33 PM

Tooth Loss Facts GraphicQuiz Question: Which of the following tooth loss facts is true?

  1. A. At least 36 million Americans are missing all of their teeth.
  2. B. The number of people who are missing at least one tooth is increasing.
  3. C. Losing teeth can feel devastating.
  4. D. All of the above 

The answer is: D (All of the above)

Many people in the United States have missing teeth and the number is growing. Losing your teeth can feel devastating! Loss of teeth affects your overall health, appearance and lifestyle. But you can avoid losing your teeth by following a rigorous oral health routine. There are many options for tooth replacement.

Why do people lose their teeth?

Tooth loss can occur because of gum disease, tooth decay, injury or cancer. Tooth loss affects older people and the economically disadvantaged more than any other group.

Dry mouth can be caused by medications or illness and contributes to tooth loss. Tooth decay and infection increase in people who have dry mouth.

How common is tooth loss?

Thirty-six million people in the United States are missing all of their teeth. Because life expectancy is increasing, the number of people with missing teeth is also increasing. At least half of elderly people are missing all of their teeth. One study found that 96% of adults over the age of 65 had tooth decay.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, periodontal “gum” disease is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults.

What happens to the person when they lose their teeth?

Losing your teeth can feel overwhelming because it affects many aspects of life such as appearance, physical health, comfort, nutrition, social relationships, confidence level and speech. Tooth loss can even lead to depression and make you feel older.

Bone loss in the jaws occurs when teeth are missing leading to changes in facial structure, and leads to a sunken appearance.

Living without teeth can be embarrassing. Many people try to hide the fact that they have missing teeth. Avoiding embarrassing incidents can be a full time job.

Tooth loss limits food choices. Chewing foods is a challenge and the risk of choking increases. Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult.

Losing your teeth is no laughing matter but it has often been the brunt of jokes in literature, comic strips, on stage, television, movies, in songs and even in animations.

Some people begin to avoid social situations. They turn down parties, stop dining out in restaurants, avoid eating in public, and cover their mouth when they talk or laugh. Food choices can become limited.

What are the health implications of tooth loss?

Studies indicate that tooth loss and periodontal disease may be related to the risk of oral, esophageal, head and neck, upper gastrointestinal, lung and pancreatic cancer. There is an association between periodontal disease, tooth loss, cancer, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth.

Can people avoid tooth loss?

Yes, you can prevent tooth loss by making healthy diet choices and taking care of your teeth.

Quit Smoking! Smoking is a major risk factor associated with gum diseases that cause inflammation around the teeth. This inflammation affects bone and supporting structures, and can lead to tooth loss.

Protect Your Teeth. While participating in sports, wear a mouth guard. A direct impact to your teeth can fracture or knock them out. If you are prone to clenching or grinding your teeth, discuss the problem with your dentist and consider wearing a night guard.

Practice Thorough Oral Hygiene. Dental plaque causes tooth decay that destroys enamel and inflames gum tissues. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Visit your dentist every six months for routine oral hygiene care and dental exams. Contact your dentist immediately if you have a dental problem or pain in your teeth.

Make healthy dietary choices. Avoid sugary acidic beverages. Limit candy and sweet snacks.

Dr. Wolfinger says, “A healthy dentition is essential to your psychological and medical well-being.”

What should people do if they have loose or missing teeth?

If you already have missing teeth, there are several tooth replacement options to consider.

Removable dentures are worn by 90% of people who have missing teeth. These prostheses typically cost less than permanent options and can restore appearance and function. Removable dentures can be used for a full or partial arch of missing teeth. Many people are able to adapt and find them to be a comfortable option. Others find them difficult or even unbearable. Over time the shape of the jaw changes and, as a result, removable dentures can become loose and uncomfortable.

A removable denture can be a good temporary option for patients who plan to get dental implants in the future.

A bridge may be an option when some of the teeth are healthy and others are missing. A bridge can be supported by adjoining teeth or by dental implants. Dental bridges are designed to match the shade and proportion of adjacent natural teeth. They eliminate unsightly gaps in the mouth and can improve occlusion. However, over time, a tooth-supported bridge can compromise the strength of supporting teeth.

Dental implants are, by far, the best choice for the replacement of missing teeth. A dental implant is a small man-made titanium fixture that replaces the root of a missing natural tooth. Most dental implants are titanium, which is compatible with our human body. A dental implant is an anchor for the artificial tooth. Dental implants can support a single crown, a partial bridge or an entire arch just like roots hold natural teeth in place. Research has shown that implants are a successful long-term option.

Unlike a tooth supported bridge, dental implants provide additional support where teeth are missing without putting excess force onto remaining natural teeth.

Pi Dental Center has successfully placed over 23,000 dental implants since it opened in 1986. Both Dr. Glenn Wolfinger and Dr. Robert Slauch are board certified prosthodontists. They have advanced skill and training in all types

“Invest your time and money in your mouth to avoid losing your teeth,” Julia, Registered Dental Hygienist at Pi Dental Center states. Contact Pi Dental Center if you have questions about your teeth or would like to schedule an appointment. We look forward to talking to you.

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Tags: tooth replacement, dental implants, dental treatment, dentistry, permanent teeth, dental pain, missing teeth, tooth loss

Is It Important To Replace A Missing Back Tooth?

Posted by Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD, FACP on Jun 25, 2018 3:00:20 PM

Glenn J. Wolfinger DMD, FACP, Board Certified ProsthodontistTooth loss is one of the most common ailments affecting individuals today.  It is estimated that 120 million people have at least one missing tooth. 

While a missing front tooth is an obvious problem that most people are quick to address, missing back teeth do not seem to raise as much concern.  

When a patient loses a tooth, the adjacent and opposing teeth can shift and move, and this can later create difficulty in replacing that tooth.  Studies have shown that patients with missing teeth have a decreased capacity to function and this can contribute to significant medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, diabetes and many other diseases. 

Studies have even shown a higher mortality rate among people with missing teeth.  Tooth replacement can be easily accomplished by a number of methods including removable dentures, fixed bridges and implant-supported restorations. 

 A Board Certified Prosthodontist is a specialist in the restoration and replacement of teeth and can provide all of the options available to address this important issue. 

Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD, FACP
Board Certified Prosthodontist

Related Article: Can this tooth be saved

Tags: tooth replacement, dental medical health connection, tooth loss, replace missing teeth

Sink Your Teeth Into This One! Pi Dental Center is Serving “the Capital Smile”

Posted by Joanne Balshi, Director of Public Relations on May 23, 2016 2:25:01 PM

Sink your teeth into a sumptuous steak dinner (Photo from Bridget's Steakhouse)

After thirty years courting revolutionary exploration of prosthodontic possibilities, The Pi Dental Center is proud to announce another new concept in smile building. Because we can now engineer superior durability with no sacrifice to translucent, natural esthetics, we are naming the ultimate Pi dental restoration our “Capital Smile.”

The name comes from the complaint most often brought to the Pi Dental Center — “I can’t eat anything that tastes good.”  Taking that to the highest level solution, it is our goal that our patients can enjoy the most sumptuous premium steaks at establishments like The Capital Grille with no worries.  No pain. No motion.  No chewing issues.  No breakage.  Just pure dining pleasure.

Capital GrilleThe specialty of Prosthodontics has been impacted over the years with ever changing science and technology leading to a man-made third set of teeth.  The first giant steps were cosmetic. Laboratories developed artistic ways to shape and color teeth so that crowns and veneers no longer appeared horsey, and in the hands of a skillful clinician became indistinguishable from natural teeth.  Later the advent of dental implant restorations with CADCAM technology made the architecture of the smile more solid and functional, promoting longevity of the restoration prosthesis.  Seemingly the profession was on the threshold of the ideal smile, even if a bit costly for the average pocket.

Halfway through 2016, it’s an intensely blended dedication of engineering, product development, cosmetic experience, fresh ideas and collaboration with the worldwide expertise of Global Dental Science, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, creator of AvaDent digital removable dentures. Pi has always been about providing our patients the highest quality in the shortest time possible with consideration of the investment. The “Capital Smile” will upgrade technology, increase durability and longevity, and become a more cost effective way to sport a young, healthy smile.

Look for it first at Pi Dental Center, home of Teeth in a Day® dental implants. Consider dental implant treatment so that you can sink your teeth

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* Photo of steak dinner graciously submitted by Brian Forrest

Tags: tooth replacement, dental implants, removable dentures, dental health, teeth, Teeth In A Day, sink your teeth

Timing is Everything -- Maximizing Dental Insurance Benefits

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Sep 15, 2011 1:18:00 PM

Discuss Dental Insurance BenefitsAt the Pi Dental Center, October thru December is the busiest time of the year. Patients with dental insurance benefits want to maximize their value for each calendar year and often wait for the end of the summer vacation season to schedule an appointment.  Others simply seem to have new energy for smile makeovers once the crisper air comes in.  The arrival of holiday catalogs resplendent with sparkles spurs many to be as attractive as they can be for the holiday season. Patients seek everything from whitening sessions to the replacement of longtime missing or decayed teeth.  It is as if the smile takes on more important value as the year winds to its end.

Smart shoppers do not wait until Black Friday to get ready for the holidays and smart dental patients schedule early to ensure that their needs can be met at the times they most desire.  The Pi staff will do everything possible to accommodate the annual end of the year rush; however, the early callers will secure the optimum appointment times.  Schedule soon to accomplish your dental goals for 2011.

Call 215-646-6334 to discuss treatment or schedule an appointment. For questions regarding dental insurance, contact Kathleen Koch at extension 304.

Tags: tooth replacement, maximize dental insurance benefits, dental insurance benefits, dental insurance

ABC News Investigates Denture Adhesive Health Issues

Posted by Chris Raines on Mar 4, 2011 11:46:00 AM

Pi Dental Center

In May 2009, Pi Dental Center’s newsletter exposed a problem caused by excessive use of zinc in denture adhesives.  Recently, ABC News began their own investigation of zinc in Fixodent and described the class action lawsuit started by users who have experienced devastating side effects.

Denture AdhesiveIn the twentieth century, the common prosthetic solution for severely compromised dental conditions was extraction of decayed and periodontally hopeless teeth and the application of removable dentures.  Never an ideal, dentures prescribed by a skilled clinician and manufactured by a quality laboratory, could at least be somewhat esthetic and fairly functional.  Removable teeth that sleep in a glass stood for decades as a viable solution, and smart denture wearers sought out the best adhesives for assistance in keeping their teeth comfortably snug by day.

ZINCRecent widespread consumer alerts stating that excessive zinc in denture adhesives may damage nerves, weaken limbs and disturb proper balance have denture patients clearly on edge.  Product manufacturers insist that with proper use of these products, they are totally safe and that only in circumstances where dentures are loose or ill fitting and excessive denture cream is used, could a patient’s overall health be at risk.

QuestionsThe American College of Prosthodontists recommends that denture patients visit their dentist to ensure that the denture is relined to fit the anatomically changing ridge as best as possible.  This can minimize the need for large doses of adhesives in the mouth and reduces the risk of injury.

Removable DentureDrs. Tom Balshi and Glenn Wolfinger, board certified prosthodontists at the Pi Dental Center in Fort Washington, take the recommendation one step further. Twenty-first century state of the art smile solutions with dental implants completely eliminate both the need for removable dentures and the dependence on adhesives.  New very affordable permanent smiles can be achieved with minimally invasive treatment in a single clinical visit, rejuvenating the face as well as providing non-removable teeth that look and function sometimes even better than the natural born smile.

For additional information about dental implant care or a learn how to completely avoid excessive zinc intake via adhesives, contact the Pi Dental Care Center.

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Tags: tooth replacement, dental implants, dental implant treatment, denture adhesive, smile makeover

A Cost Effective Approach for Rehabilitation with Dental Implants

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Feb 8, 2011 2:26:00 PM

Facial Rehabilitation Using The All-On-4 Mandibular Prosthesis

Robert, a 49-year-old journalist came to Pi for an opinion on his smile.  His profession required frequent face-to-face interviews.

His chief complaints were the embarrassment he experienced when smiling, painful chewing, very poor aesthetics and highly mobile teeth. He wrote in his medical history, “It would be nice to smile again”.  Robert was in a severe automobile accident in 1980, which left him with a chronic painful condition in his neck, his back and his jaws.    

Robert’s initial clinical examination noted multiple fractured teeth, extensive dental decay, several abscesses, and extruded teeth, which created a severe malocclusion.  There was a heavy plaque and calculus accumulation, which combined with smoking, contributed to advanced periodontal disease. 

At his initial visit, he smoked one pack of cigarettes a day, but wished to stop. Robert was advised of the effects of smoking, not only for his general health, but also for his dental condition.  He was strongly advised to quit smoking immediately.  Robert did admit he was “a very bad dental patient” due to his high level of anxiety.


Historically, extensive periodontal therapy followed by prosthodontic treatment may have been indicated to maintain and restore Robert’s natural dentition.  However, with all the clinical findings and the current condition of the patient’s teeth, traditional dental treatment had a poor prognosis.  With his advanced periodontal disease and his poor compliance, orthodontics to improve the dental malocclusion was not a viable option.  


Robert was presented with a treatment plan addressing all his concerns in an expedient manner. Cost was a consideration for the full mouth reconstruction.  Some doctors would recommend less expensive prosthetic treatment using an implant overdenture.  At Pi Dental Center we have found that patients are rarely satisfied with the removable implant overdenture as they are with fixed implant prostheses. At Pi Dental Center, we have found that there are many additional visits, as well as added costs associated with maintenance of the overdentures.  Recent studies have collaborated our findings.


The philosophy at Pi Dental Center is to provide patients with the most effective and efficient approach to solving their dental problems.  The Teeth In A Day® dental implant procedure is an excellent alternative for patients with a failing teeth who need to make the transition to an implant-supported prosthesis.  Historically, it would take several months or even years to see the benefits of implant treatment.  Fifteen years of research, pioneered at Pi Dental Center, has enabled patients to enjoy the benefits of immediately loading the implant-supported teeth on the same day that their decayed teeth are removed and the implants installed.  This accelerates the entire clinical process.


The early research for Teeth In A Day® was accomplished in patients where larger numbers of implants were placed to provide a very predictable solution for prosthesis stability.  Recently, studies have been published that show comparable predictability using fewer implants.  The latter may prove to be a more cost effective treatment approach for patients in need of implant-reconstruction.  


For Robert’s treatment all the periodontally compromised teeth were extracted, six implants were placed in the maxillary arch, four implants were placed in the mandibular arch and prostheses for both arches were put into immediate function following the Teeth In A Day® protocol.  While the patient was encouraged to adhere to a soft diet for the first three months, the temporary teeth proved to be much stronger than Robert’s natural teeth.  The aesthetic improvements were immediate.  Three months after the surgery the bone healing had stabilized and the  final implant reconstructions were delivered.


The patient went through a complete makeover to improve his overall aesthetics.  Dr. George Zavitsanos, a board certified plastic surgeon, provided improved facial aesthetics by surgically correcting the deviation in Robert’s nose in conjunction with multiple soft tissue enhancements.  Following facial surgery healing and the Teeth In A Day® treatment, Robert agreed to a style makeover and experienced his first hair cut since 1969.  A new prescription for corrective lenses offered yet another cosmetic improvement with his stylish new glasses.  Robert’s satisfaction with the Teeth In A Day® procedure is extremely high.  He has noticed a dramatic improvement in his psychological well-being and has found it easy to smile and be more outgoing.  As a news journalist for a Washington, DC newspaper, he feels more comfortable at press conferences in the highly political public eye.

From a dental standpoint, the periodontal disease has been eliminated and the patient now has a completely healthy, functional, stable and aesthetically pleasing reconstruction.

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Tags: tooth replacement, dental implants, dental implant treatment, dentist, cost effective dental treatment, board certified prosthodontist