As an adult, if you are missing a tooth, or several teeth, it’s important to replace it. If the gap is noticeable when you smile, replacing the tooth for aesthetic reasons will restore your smile. But even if you cannot see the gap when smiling or talking, one or more missing teeth can create major problems in your mouth. Over time the neighbouring teeth will gradually shift into the gap, which leads to crooked, misaligned teeth and an uneven bite, as well as making you more susceptible to developing gum disease. So your smile, ability to chew and your long-term oral health can all be affected when you don’t replace a missing tooth.
There are several reasons why you may have lost a tooth, such as:
- Injury or trauma, such as a sports injury, car accident or any impact to the face like simply tripping over.
- Gum disease and tooth decay resulting from neglecting your oral health. Poor eating habits, inadequate brushing and flossing routines, avoiding dental check ups, and not controlling chronic conditions like diabetes can all result in oral health issues that can jeopardize your teeth and gums.
- Grinding or clenching your teeth, also known as bruxism. This is a habit that can wear your teeth down and loosen them.
- Smoking. Yet another reason to quit smoking, it is a common cause of tooth loss as it both causes and masks the symptoms of periodontal disease.
Treatment for Replacing a Missing Tooth
Dental implants are an effective way to replace one or several missing teeth, as well as being a great option for full teeth replacement. They are considered to be a permanent teeth replacement and look, feel and act just like your natural teeth. In this treatment a titanium screw is surgically implanted into your jawbone and provides a base for a dental crown to be mounted to. It effectively replaces the missing tooth without impacting on neighbouring teeth.
An alternative tooth replacement option is using a tooth bridge and dental crown. A dental bridge is attached to the neighbouring teeth and a dental crown is fitted, spanning the gap and restoring your bite. Dental bridges rely on the support of the neighbouring teeth to be effective, and generally need to be replaced every 10-15 years.
An implant-supported bridge is a hybrid of these options for replacing multiple missing teeth in a row. Titanium screws are surgically implanted into the jawbone for the first and last missing teeth to anchor the bridge in place. It can be a more cost-effective treatment while still producing great results, although it can only be used in certain circumstances where several teeth are missing in a row.
Partial dentures can also be used to replace missing teeth, which are clasped into place. They can be very cost-effective, although some people find them uncomfortable to get used to and they have additional daily cleaning and storing requirements.
Please contact us if you are concerned about a missing tooth, or several teeth. We can conduct an assessment and provide you with a range of treatment options for your needs.