Most dentists don’t learn how to restore dental implants during their dental school education. I was fortunate to do my post-graduate residency at a Veterans Administration hospital where I had advanced training in dental implants. Most of my patients were older and had missing teeth. Many of them struggled with loose dentures or partial dentures.
Here’s what I learned right away from my Veterans Administration patients with loose or missing teeth: it wasn’t that they couldn’t eat. People with missing teeth learn what foods they can eat comfortably. Instead of steak, they eat mashed potatoes. Instead of crisp carrots, they eat overcooked broccoli. Instead of taking an apple, they choose pudding. For my patients with loose teeth, I saw meals turn from a pleasure to a trial.
And it wasn’t that my patients with loose or missing teeth couldn’t talk. People with missing teeth just talk less, so that their teeth won’t embarrass them. Instead of enjoying long and animated conversations, most of my patients responded with yes or no, or with nods. Honestly, their behavior was often misinterpreted as depression or psychological problems, when many of them were simply embarrassed!
One more thing: it wasn’t that my patients with loose or missing teeth were unhappy. People with missing teeth look unhappy because they rarely open their mouth to laugh out loud. I would watch them in the cafeteria. Often they would come with family—a spouse, or a daughter or grandson. They would nod and flash a quick, closed smile, which made it seem that they were in a bad mood or were holding something back. But I learned the real reason when they told me in the dental clinic: they felt they had to be careful so other people wouldn’t see their loose or missing teeth.
If you have a loose or missing tooth, then you need to know about the miracle of dental implants. With new techniques, you may be able to look better and chew better the same day!