A smile, 1 of the most important parts of your appearance, can be significantly changed by missing teeth. It isn’t just a matter of aesthetics, though—missing even 1 tooth can lead to dental problems that can have serious implications on your health. Luckily, a dentist can help you with this.
A dentist can replace a missing tooth with a dental implant. In some situations, they may use a bridge to replace a missing tooth, or even partial dentures if they think it’s a suitable solution. While it may take some time to adjust to your replacements, missing teeth can easily be fixed with the help of an experienced dentist, restoring your smile to your natural beauty.
What to Do if You Have Missing Teeth
If you’re missing a tooth, it’s important to know what happens if you leave it untreated. If you lose a tooth—or several teeth—the surrounding teeth can shift toward this open space.
This disturbs the alignment of your mouth and can cause:
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech problems
- An increased risk of tooth and gum decay
If you leave the tooth unaddressed for too long, it can even lead to bone loss in the jaw, which can have serious long-term health implications. So if you’re missing any teeth, you should visit your dentist as soon as you can.
Dentists are equipped with the skills and tools needed to replace missing teeth effectively. Several options are available, depending on your needs, oral health, and financial circumstances. These options include:
Dental implants are 1 of the most common solutions for a missing tooth, and they’re popular for their durability and natural look. An implant is a small titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone where a tooth is missing. This post works as a sort of artificial replacement for the root of the missing tooth.
A dental surgeon installs this post, and then you take some time to heal. Once the jawbone is fully healed around the implant, providing a sturdy base, a replacement tooth is attached. A dentist can match this replacement tooth to the natural shape and colour of your surrounding teeth, making it undetectable to the people around you.
The process of getting implants requires several visits over a few months, but the results are long-lasting. In fact, with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. However, not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. You must have healthy gums and enough surrounding bone to support the implant.
Another option for replacing missing teeth is a bridge. This option quite literally acts as a bridge for the gap created by 1 or more missing teeth. It consists of 2 or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, along with a false tooth or teeth in between.
Bridges can be supported by natural teeth or implants, making them a common solution. They’re a good option for people who don’t want surgery or who have bones that can’t support an implant. Bridges can restore the ability to chew and speak properly, maintain the shape of the face, and prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of position.
Dentures use a different approach to replacing missing teeth. Instead of a permanent fixed solution, they’re a removable dental device. They come in 2 types:
- Complete dentures, which are used when all your teeth are missing
- Partial dentures, which are used when you still have any number of your remaining teeth
Dentures are often the most affordable option for replacing a missing tooth. But they may not feel as natural as a fixed replacement since you’re able to remove them as you choose. They also require regular cleaning and maintenance in order to maximize how long they last.
The Importance of Replacing a Missing Tooth
People with missing teeth may feel self-conscious about their smile and worry about how this missing tooth affects their overall health. By restoring a complete set of teeth, you can restore the function, health, and appearance of your smile.
Medically, replacing missing teeth is an essential step to take. Fortunately, your dentist can perform a thorough examination and help you determine which approach is right for your unique situation.