Several dental issues may result in a missing tooth: including gum disease, injury, and tooth decay; all of which can change your smile. When your dentist chooses to pull a tooth, they’re doing it to maintain the overall health of your mouth, but with advances in dentistry, you don’t have to live with the gaps.
No matter how you lose a tooth, implants, fixed bridges, and removable partial dentures can recreate the function and look of your old teeth.
Do You Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?
Your teeth do a lot more work than you might realize. Choosing to replace a tooth isn’t just an aesthetic decision. Overall dental health is affected too.
As time passes, the gap in your teeth will start to close. Typically, your teeth help keep each other stabilized. With a gap, the teeth might move or twist into a position that makes it hard to brush or floss, resulting in irritated gums or tooth decay.
Missing teeth can also affect your jaw’s bite and facial muscles. It can change how you talk and eat, resulting in overcompensation with remaining teeth and leading to grinding and sensitivity.
Dentistry has come a long way, and dental professionals now have several methods to replace missing teeth.
Dental Implants are a surgical option that works with the structure of the jawbone to replace a missing tooth and root with a titanium post and artificial tooth. While an implant is preferred when you’re only missing a single tooth, your dentist will conduct a thorough assessment to ensure the bone is strong enough to support the titanium root.
How are Dental Implants Done?
Dental implants start with x-ray imaging of the jaw to confirm it can support the titanium root. The dentist then makes an incision and secures the titanium post into your jaw with a small cap.
After a few weeks, your natural bone will grow around the post and secure it in place. Once the dentist is confident the post is secure, they’ll cement on a porcelain crown as an artificial tooth.
Advantages of Dental Implants
One of the primary advantages is the lifespan of a dental implant—you may not have to replace it for decades if you take care of it. It resembles a natural tooth and doesn’t affect the surrounding teeth.
A dental bridge may be a good option if you’re missing a few teeth in the same area. A fixed bridge will ‘bridge’ the gap in your teeth and is placed over the gums that are missing teeth. They’re held in place by either an implant or your surrounding healthy teeth.
How are Fixed Bridges Done?
First, your dentist will take a mould of your teeth to customize the bridge. During the procedure, crowns are attached to the teeth next to the lost tooth. The dentist removes a small amount of enamel on the surrounding teeth, or places a dental implant, to anchor the bridge.
Advantages of Fixed Bridges
Similar to the dental implant, the prosthetic bridge looks and feels like a natural tooth. The various types of dental bridges allow for more customized treatment of missing teeth.
Removable Partial Denture
When most people picture missing teeth, dentures often automatically come to mind. The removable dentures of today have improved over the years with a more realistic look and better fit. If you have several teeth that need to be replaced, partial dentures can be practical.
How do Removable Partial Dentures Work?
A partial denture incorporates a plastic base matching the gums with the false teeth attached. Metal clasps hold the dentures in place when wearing them, and you can remove them easily.
Advantages of Removable Partial Dentures
Partial dentures look more natural than ever and can be repaired or replaced easily. However, they typically don’t last as long as implants or bridges because dentures require more cleaning and handling.
How to Prevent Tooth Loss
Fighting tooth decay and gum disease is possible if you:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after you eat
- Floss between your teeth every day
- Rinse your mouth with mouthwash containing fluoride
- Limit sugary, sticky food that clings to the teeth’s surface
- Maintain regular dental exams and cleanings
Keeping up positive oral health habits doesn’t just benefit your teeth. Oral health is the cornerstone of overall well-being. Even if you don’t keep all your adult teeth, you have replacement options and tools to keep your mouth at its best.
Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?
At Heritage Pointe Dental, our team of dental professionals can point you toward the best tooth replacement option for your dental health.
Book an appointment for a dental exam, a cleaning, or any dental concerns you have.