Pi DENTAL CENTER BLOG

What Does the Dental Term, “Oral Cripple” Mean?

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Feb 17, 2017 4:12:44 PM

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knowing-is-not-enough-do.jpgHave you heard of the term, “oral cripple”? Dentists use the term to describe a person who has such significant dental problems that they substantially and negatively impact the quality of life.

Do you know someone who:

  • Hides their mouth when they smile or laugh?
  • Complains about jaw pain?
  • Has broken teeth?
  • Have loose or clicking dentures?
  • Cannot pronounce certain words?
  • Refuses to eat in public or struggles when chewing certain foods?
  • Declines social invitations because of their teeth?
  • Cannot find a job because of the state of their teeth?

As a person’s dental condition deteriorates, their oral and medical dilemmas mount. If left untreated, a person can experience numerous complications that affect every aspect of life. Tooth loss, poor quality dentures, shifting teeth, periodontal disease, and broken teeth can be devastating.

As teeth are lost, the surrounding teeth begin to shift in the mouth.  Missing teeth cause the bite to collapse, which in turn damages the jaw joint. This is because the stress of clenching the teeth intensifies pressure on the joint. Over time, the damage to the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement increase. Temporomandibular joint disorder causes pain in the area of the joint, neck, shoulder, back, head, and trouble chewing.

Well-fitting removable dentures can be an adequate temporary solution.  But dentures must be regularly maintained by a dentist. Ill-fitting loose unsightly dentures cause clicking, pain, sores on gum, and limit one’s ability to speak, and eat.

The feeling of self-consciousness because of dental appearance permeates many aspects of life. People often feel too embarrassed to smile. Making friends, building relationships and finding a job can become more difficult.

Tooth loss shortens a person’s life span. An October 2016 article in Periodontology 2000 concluded that the number of teeth in aging humans affects longevity and life expectancy. An inability to eat nutritional foods that require the ability to properly masticate is one factor is reducing life span.

One patient mentioned, “Life with removable dentures really makes you appreciate the teeth you lost.” Healthy functional teeth really contribute to the quality of life.

Replacing lost, damaged and diseased teeth with complete non-removable restorations allows patients to return to a state of anatomic, functional, psychological, and social good health. It allows them to again enjoy the simplest of pleasures, like ordering a dinner in a restaurant.

Dr. Balshi said, “Advances in prosthodontics have made remarkable alternatives available for replacement of missing teeth. The osseointegrated dental implant system permits the placement of a fixed bridge in patients who would otherwise require removable dentures. This technique involves placement of implants within the jaws, which are physiologically attached to bone and to which the teeth are attached.”

Johan Wolfgang von Goethe and later Bruce Lee stated, "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do," It’s important to diagnose dental problems, meticulously research all solutions, choose the best option, then begin treatment.

When people decide to move forward and actively pursue dental treatment, they often do not have a regular dentist and wonder who to place their trust in.  The board certified dentists at Pi Dental Center created the trademarked Teeth In A Day® procedure that enables patients to enjoy the benefits of fixed replacement teeth on the same day implants are placed, rather than following a three to six month process. At 467 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fort Washington, we have everything under one roof. Advanced evaluation is possible in-house with CT-scanning and digital intraoral scanning technology. From prosthodontics and oral surgery to endodontics and orthodontics, patients can have most treatment in our center.  Three on-site laboratories provide a wide variety of prostheses.

High quality dentistry is a combination of advanced technology, visual artistry and manual skill. As board certified prosthodontists with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Thomas Balshi and Dr. Glenn Wolfinger provide patients with teeth that are attractive, functional and customized for the individual patient.

Quality of life is enhanced by comprehensive dental restoration.  Call Pi Dental Center and schedule a complete diagnostic evaluation so that you can smile again!

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Tags: removable dentures, dental problems, dental condition, tooth loss, temporomandibular joint disorder, dental appearance, healthy functional teeth