Dr. Anita Myers is a Dentist practicing in Spring, Texas. Dr. Myers specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic, and endodontic procedures,... more
My first grandchild was born today. He came equipped with ten perfect fingers and toes, perfect little arms and legs, and a pair of eyes that bore into the camera that took his first portrait. His tiny fingernails, lips, and nose are also flawless—all testaments to the perfection of the design of the human body. More mysterious is how the heart knows how to beat, the lungs to breathe, the muscles to move, and the eyes to blink.
What part of this perfection of the human body should we discard? Would anyone desire the future loss of an eye or a limb? And yet, every week I hear someone say, in regard to his teeth, “Just pull it, Doc, and someday I’ll get a set of dentures.”
Our natural teeth give us important information. Because of ligaments that connect the teeth to the underlying bone, we are alerted to the presence of undesirable ingredients such as pits or shells in our foods. Our teeth alert us about temperature extremes in advance so we are less likely to injure the tongue or throat. Teeth help us chew and absorb more nutrients so our bodies can thrive.
We also use our teeth to communicate with one another, offering a smile of friendship or send a warning with a threatening snarl. Front teeth help us speak more clearly, and the back teeth not only help us grind our foods, they also provide a stable support system for the jaw joint and chewing muscles.
Healthy teeth fit together with perfect synchronicity, evenly distributing the forces that our muscles can apply when we clench. And boy, do we clench! Some of us clench when we sleep, when we’re stressed, or just when we’re concentrating. Other people grind, sliding their jaws one way or another that results in “wear,” the permanent loss of enamel. With the loss of a single tooth, the bite can become unbalanced and cause many people to suffer from the headache-like pain that results from spasms of the jaw muscles. Others endure breakdown of the internal mechanism of the jaw joint, a process where bone eventually rubs directly against bone with every chewing, swallowing, yawning or speaking movement.
Modern dentistry has remarkable restorations for damaged teeth or unsightly smiles. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. My wish for my grandson is the natural smile that was designed for him. My wish for you is the same.