It’s exciting when you are loosing your baby teeth and welcoming in your permanent adult teeth, but that should be the end of a person’s tooth loss! For the majority of us, we need 28 teeth to support our facialmuscular system. If one tooth is missing, it could lead to a physiological domino effect, in which a simple problem becomes exacerbated. A missing front tooth is unthinkable to live with – it must be restored ASAP. A missing back tooth, however, is sometimes ignored. This can lead to surrounding teeth shifting and tilting, during which the dentition can later cause gum, tooth and bite problems. At that point, restoring the mouth is not only a one-tooth job, but concerns multiple teeth, gum and bone. It is much easier to handle one missing tooth and not deal with such tremendous consequences.
What are the causes of missing teeth? Congenital missing teeth (teeth which never formed), severely broken down and non-restorable teeth due to dental diseases, lack of supporting bone for teeth due to advanced gum disease and physical trauma from a serious mouth injury are all common reasons. Once you do loose a tooth, your oral environment is severely affected! Besides smile-phobia, speech impairment for missing front teeth, diet complications (in which you can’t properly bite and chew food – especially with foods rich in fiber which require a good set of teeth to digest), and bite force can all be severely affected. Shift and tilt on existing teeth when the jaw exerts pressure lead to uneven loading creates jaw tension and possible accelerated wear and tear of the teeth. Additionally, tilted and shifted teeth make it more difficult to clean , which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Thankfully, dentistry has greatly advanced in recent times, and you do have multiple treatment options for a missing tooth! If just one tooth is missing, dental implants are a great option which can replace the missing tooth without affecting the adjacent teeth, and preserve the bone as well. Dental implants are made of bio-compatible titanium, which are surgically placed into the jaw to preplace the missing root structure. Then, a post and crown is built on top of the implant. Other options include a dental bridge, which needs capping (a crown) of neighboring teeth to help support the artificial tooth replacing the missing one. It is stationary and feels natural (if made properly), but connected teeth need a special tool for flossing. Full or partial dentures are generally the least expensive treatment option, especially if many or all of a person’s teeth are missing. This option involves false teeth being set into a plastic base, which fits over your gums.
What will be the best treatment option for you? Please consult with your dental professional, the sooner the better!