Your teeth affect your whole body. If you have a missing tooth, it’s important to understand how this can impact your oral health and overall wellbing. At Associated Oral and Mixillofacial Surgeons, our doctors are experienced in tooth replacement.
Our goal is to evaluate your needs, explain your options for tooth replacement, and create a customized treatment plan that works best for you.
When you first lose a tooth, you’ll probably notice that it’s more difficult to eat food. You might have to change the types of foods you eat to accommodate the gap in your teeth. There could also be an effect on your ability to speak properly.
You’ll also notice a difference in the appearance of your smile. At first, you’ll have a gap where the missing tooth used to be. Over time, however, you could see the adjacent teeth start to move out of their natural alignment.
If you don’t replace your missing tooth, your jaw will start to deteriorate. Within the first year after tooth loss, you could lose 25% of your supporting jaw structure.
Replacing your teeth soon after losing them helps prevent bone loss. The longer you wait, the more your appearance and health can deteriorate and the more difficult it can be to replace your tooth.
Fortunately, there are many options for replacing missing teeth. Some of your options are temporary while others are more permanent and long-lasting.
A fixed bridge is a connected set of replacement teeth that can fill empty space from a lost tooth or teeth. It is permanently attached in place to the adjacent teeth with cement.
A flipper is a temporary tooth replacement option. This removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer is inexpensive but also fragile.
A metal partial denture can be removed and reinserted by the patient. It is constructed of more durable metal and plastic and held in place by wire clips.
Dentures are a common solution for patients who are missing all their teeth in their upper or lower jaws. Dentures work well for some people, while others find them uncomfortable.
Dental implants are a popular solution for missing teeth because they are comfortable and long-lasting. Unlike the other tooth replacement options, they replace both the tooth’s root and crown, providing a strong foundation for a healthy jaw.
Dental implants have several advantages over other tooth restoration options. Bridges are permanent, but often require that your specialist grind down the adjacent natural teeth to attach the bridge. Removable options such as dentures or partials might be inconvenient, and anytime a removable restoration slips it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Additionally, because a dental implant’s titanium post bonds with your jawbone, it provides the most stable foundation and prevents future bone loss.
Finally, dental implants look and function like natural teeth, making them a popular choice for patients with missing teeth.