Dental

Missing Teeth? Why It’s Important to Replace Them, and What Your Replacement Options Are

Missing several teeth isn’t something you should take lightly by blaming it on your age. It’s a serious matter that can affect your appearance, your general health and self-esteem. Besides, beyond aesthetics, tooth loss can also lead to other problems.

Consequences of Tooth Loss

1. Jaw Bone and Gums

When you lose your teeth, it affects the interaction between the teeth and bones. There’s no stimulation between your gums and bones. This then causes the jaw bone to shrink and gums to pull back.

In turn, this can result in the deterioration of the neighbouring teeth until they fall.

2. Appearance

A reduction in your jaw set off by your missing teeth can make your face appear wrinkly and old. It can also make your cheeks appear saggy and hollow. This is because your jaw can no longer stabilize your cheeks and lips from the inside.

Each one of your teeth counts. They help you speak clearly and chew food for easy digestion. This is why it’s important you do everything you can to make sure they’re intact.

Replacement Options

1. Bridgework

The following are the common types of bridgework.

Traditional Bridgework

This is the “go-to” solution for any missing tooth. Your teeth on whichever side of the gap will ground down as “posts” to connect the fixed bridge. However, if either of your two anchor teeth gets damaged, you don’t only lose one tooth – you’ll lose the whole bridge.

Another challenge would be in cleaning under traditional fixed bridges. You won’t be able to easily floss the area around the bridge which makes it hard to remove bad bugs in gum pockets.

Despite the possible downsides, there are also upsides to traditional bridgework. Although not perfect, you are able to have a full chewing surface! And that’s enough reason to celebrate! If you’re planning to get a traditional bridge today, do everything that you can to maintain healthy gums around the anchor teeth.

Composite Bridgework

This is an alternative wherein the dentist creates a “bridge” from composite resin materials. The good thing about this replacement option is that your two anchor teeth won’t be grounding to posts.

The dentist will build off from the adjacent teeth with compound materials to seal the gap.

So far, a composite bridge has the following substantial benefits:

  • It’s not made of metal, so issues on metals and microbes are not present.
  • Unlike a traditional fixed bridge, when one of the anchor teeth gets compromised, you can still take out the bridge and keep one of the teeth.
  • You can keep your anchor teeth in good condition since they’re not compromised by grinding to posts.

2. Dentures

Unlike implants, dentures are an economical tooth replacement option that have been around for many years. Different types of dentures include:

  • Implant-Supported Overdentures are full dentures put in place by 2 or more dental implants. It prevents the dentures from slipping and, at the same time, allows it to be removable.
  • Removable Full Dentures substitute all top and bottom teeth, and you can easily take them out of your mouth.
  • Removable Partial Dentures substitute only some of the teeth and are removable.

3. Removable Bridges

Most removable bridges, as the name suggests, can be easily taken off from the gap. This makes it easier to clean them and help maintain the gap to avoid changes in teeth shifting and bite.

Unfortunately, there are also some downsides that come with removable options.

  • They may not fit correctly and can be uncomfortable for the user.
  • You have to be conscious while eating since they weren’t put in place by grinding to posts. They may come loose while you’re chewing food or worse, you can accidentally swallow them.
  • You need to be diligent about taking them off after every meal to clean the space. Also, you have to be mindful where you put it while cleaning to avoid getting bacteria inside your mouth.

The challenge with removable bridges is finding a dentist who’ll help you fit one. This is because they’re beginning to get “out of fashion” in today’s dentistry practice.

3. Implants

This is the best and most expensive option for tooth replacement. Dental implants are small, screw-like posts which dentists insert into the jawbone. They’re made of titanium and fuse with your bone to have a solid connection. The dentist then attaches crowns to the implants to make them appear and feel like real teeth.  

Although it’s the most expensive option, implants can last a lifetime.

Don’t let a missing tooth ruin your chances of showing that beautiful smile of yours. Make use of today’s tooth replacement options to preserve your pearly whites. Whatever tooth replacement option you choose, make sure you’re working with a trusted dental professional.