Can Missing Teeth Be Replaced?
We all know the importance of keeping our teeth clean. Whether at home brushing and flossing or visiting your dentist for comprehensive cleaning, you’re doing what you can to have good dental health.
However, despite our best efforts, we may still lose teeth due to accidents, genetics, or poor oral hygiene. And missing teeth can have a significant impact on the way we look, feel, and eat. Fortunately, modern dental technology has come a long way, providing advanced tooth replacement options to restore your smile and confidence.
Missing teeth can be replaced by implants and bridges designed to blend into your mouth and protect you from misalignment.
Why Do We Lose Teeth?
Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. When we don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque builds up on our teeth and gums. While you may be able to clean away this build-up in small amounts, over time, it can harden into tartar and eventually infect where the gums attach to your teeth. Sometimes you’ll notice bleeding while you brush, but you may not see anything.
Gum disease is called gingivitis in these early stages, and if it progresses, it may eventually cause teeth to loosen and fall out.
Another common way to lose a tooth is through injury. The image of a hockey player with missing teeth is stereotypical, but that’s because hard hits to the mouth can cause your teeth to break, chip, or dislodge.
The Dangers of Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can be more than a cosmetic issue since we use our mouths to talk and eat. The surrounding teeth might shift into this empty space, eventually leading to crooked or misaligned teeth.
Misaligned teeth can make it difficult to chew, leading to digestive problems. They’re also typically harder to clean, which may increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. It can even affect your speech, causing a lisp or other impediments.
Moreover, if you’re unhappy with your appearance, you may notice an effect on your self-esteem. You may feel uncomfortable smiling or talking with others.
Replacing Missing Teeth
If you have missing teeth, don’t worry. There was a time that dentures were the only option, but in the modern age, dental professionals can offer more options to restore your smile. The most common options are dental implants, tooth-supported fixed bridges, and all-on-four implants.
Dental implants are a modern and popular way to replace missing teeth. It involves placing a titanium post into your jawbone and capping it with a natural-looking artificial tooth. It’s a great way to handle a single missing tooth, supporting your surrounding teeth and preventing them from shifting out of line. Implants can also address multiple teeth with a bridge.
Over time, dental implants should fuse with your jawbone, giving your new crown a stable base. But, of course, these new teeth will have to be cared for just like your natural ones, with regular cleanings and visits to your dentist.
Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridges
If you have a few missing teeth in a row, a bridge is another option for replacement. A bridge works exactly like it sounds; it “bridges” the gap between anchor points. For tooth-supported fixed bridges, these anchor points are other teeth.
Over a couple of visits, your dentist will prepare the natural teeth on either side of the gap to get crowns, a hollow, artificial cap that goes over your natural teeth. The bridge is then cemented to these healthy teeth and held naturally, blending into the rest of your mouth.
All-on-x implants are a comprehensive solution that can replace an entire arch of teeth. This option is a series of implants, typically from 4–6, embedded in your jawbone. Once the implants are in place and you’ve healed, your dentist can attach a bridge across all the posts.
Once this bridge is in, it can’t come out. You might even consider all-on-x implants to be permanent dentures, allowing you to eat, speak, and smile confidently.
Choosing the Right Tooth Replacement Option
It can take time to decide which option is best for you. Fortunately, your dentist can help you determine the right one depending on your needs and goals.
The first factor is generally how many teeth you need replaced and where they are. For example, you could handle a single tooth with an implant, while more might need a bridge. You also have to consider your overall health. Implants require healthy gums and enough bone in the jaw to support them.
Cost can also be a deciding factor. Some long-term solutions, like all-on-x implants, are more expensive upfront but may save you money in the long run compared to other options you may need to replace eventually.
This decision should be a conversation between you and your dentist; there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
Modern Dental Care
While tooth replacement options are more plentiful than ever, you should still take proper care of your teeth and gums to prevent tooth loss in the first place. If you’re interested in tooth replacements, our team at 8 West Dental Care is experienced with the latest techniques and technology. This includes visiting us for regular cleanings and checkups.We’re looking forward to hearing from you. So contact us to learn more about how you can have a bright smile for years to come.