There are various ways in which an individual may lose their teeth. Some are lost due to injury or dental issues. With age, an individual may lose their teeth due to loss of bone support. Teeth also may be weakened over time with dental fillings and wear. Tooth loss can affect speech, chewing and tooth alignment. Missing teeth can ultimately lead to bone loss, over eruption of opposing teeth and a loss of foundation for surrounding teeth. Tooth loss is usually a traumatic event. The good news is there are options to replace a missing tooth.
Teeth have an essential role in communication, digestion and self- confidence. It is crucial to replace missing teeth regardless of age. As a young child, we learn to enunciate words best once all teeth have erupted. With teeth missing, people find it difficult to pronounce words which can be frustrating. Losing a tooth or a few teeth can affect a persons ability to bite, tear or chew their food. This has an impact on what a person can eat preventing them from having tougher, more fibrous meals. People with missing teeth tend to avoid smiling and public speaking as they find it embarrassing.
Teeth tend to erupt in a sequence, and the eruption stops when it meets an opposing tooth. When a tooth is lost, the opposing tooth will continue to erupt into the space. This over eruption leads to dental issues like sensitivity, food traps and an increased risk of cavities. This over eruption can also lead to mobility. The teeth around the missing tooth can tip into the space and cause similar issues and impact alignment of teeth. Bone loss will occur where the tooth is lost and affect the bone around adjacent teeth. There are alternatives to replace the missing tooth and should be done quickly to reduce the impact on the surrounding teeth.
In most cases, the best option to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant. A dental implant best mimics a tooth by utilizing the bone which prevents the bone from being lost. Implants provide a more natural look and have a longer lifespan than the alternatives.
Dental bridges can be used to replace one or two missing teeth. Bridges are attached to teeth on either side of the space creating a false impression of a tooth. Bridges do not utilize the bone and bone loss will still occur. Some people find it difficult to clean beneath a bridge and can cause a bridge to fail over time.
Partial or full dentures are an option for individuals with several or all teeth missing. Different types of dentures can be made based on a patient’s needs. Like bridges, dentures do not promote bone growth which means dentures will need adjustments over the years. This bone loss can lead to mobility and loss of more teeth.
With many complications following the loss of a tooth, it is essential to find a replacement option that works best for you. Leaving the space will result in dental issues on other teeth, mobility and subsequent tooth loss. Regardless of life stage, it is essential to talk to your dentist about the best way to replace the missing tooth. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.