Options For Permanent Tooth Loss
When you have lost your permanent adult teeth your ability to chew and eat most foods will be compromised. However, if you have just lost one or two teeth, it may not seem that bad, as we adapt by chewing in the areas where we still have teeth.
This, however, can set up a cycle whereby the remaining teeth begin to shift, tip over, over erupt and sometimes even break due to functioning only in one area. Therefore even if you have only lost a single tooth, check with your dentist to help you understand if there are any long-term ramifications of your tooth loss. We encourage you to not compromise on these key things that make life enjoyable.
Properly chewing your favorite foods, pronouncing words correctly, and being confident enough to smile are priceless aspects that contribute to your happiness. To keep yourself independent and in good health, you should invest in replacing your missing teeth.
What Are The Risks Of Not Replacing Your Teeth?
It may seem like you’re better off saving money and going without a few teeth, but there are actually more costly side effects to having missing teeth. Consider tooth replacement a valuable investment that can give you a new lease on life.
- Further tooth loss- When you’re missing teeth, your existing teeth do the extra work. Unconsciously, you place undue pressure on the existing teeth. This can cause further tooth loss, which can cost more money to fix.
- Interruption of daily activities- When you’re missing teeth, you may not be able to chew certain foods or speak as well as you used to. Your daily life can be greatly affected.
- Self-confidence issues-
When you cover up your smile because you’re not pleased with the look of your teeth, it can trigger social anxiety or depression. Replacing your teeth can return you to your normal social activities. You’ll have the confidence to smile again.
- Jawbone loss- The absence of a tooth root attached to your jaw will actually cause bone loss due to atrophy. Over time this can affect the fullness and/or shape of your face. Getting dental implants is the best course of action to prevent this from happening as they will not only replace the missing teeth but also help to minimize any bone loss in the area of the implant.
What Are Your Options For Permanent Tooth Loss?
Today there are plenty of tooth replacement options that are just as good or even better than your natural teeth. Here are your options for reversing permanent tooth loss.
- Traditional Dentures (partial or complete)
- Dental implants (to hold either permanent or removable teeth)
- Bridges & Crowns
Traditional dentures are false teeth that you fit onto your gums. They are secured with an adhesive or by your adjacent teeth. They must be taken out at night and cleaned to prevent bacterial growth. Traditional dentures can come in partial or full sets to replace one or all of your teeth.
- The Advantages: Removable partial or full dentures are the most affordable tooth replacement solutions available. They can be fitted easily during a series of dental visits. This also means that if they’re damaged or lost, they can be quickly replaced without costing too much.
- The Disadvantages: Removable dentures are not permanently fixed in your mouth. This means that you’ll have to take them out nightly to clean them. They also have a tendency to slip or feel unnatural. Since they are only secured with an adhesive or adjacent teeth, you may not be able to eat sticky or hard foods.
If you want to stop your jawbone from shrinking due to atrophy, then dental implants are often the best solution to replace missing teeth.
They are typically made of two components: the implant itself which replaces the missing root, and an abutment (or post) which attaches to the implant and “sticks above” the gum tissue. The teeth are then fabricated to screw, cement or snap onto the abutment giving you a secure set of teeth.
Dental implants are the closest replacement for natural teeth. They are an investment, the exact cost of dental implants is discussed on our cost information page. However, they can last for up to 20 years. They look, feel and act like your regular teeth. Implants are permanent replacements for missing teeth. Dental implants work best when your gums and jaw bone are in healthy condition.
They take several sessions to install because your gums and bone have to heal fully after extraction before work can be done. (This takes 4-8 months) Patients who are waiting to have dental implants will often have a denture made to fill the space while their gums and jaw heal after extraction. This is especially common when teeth are missing from the front of a patient’s mouth. A denture can be installed the day of extraction so that the patient will still have a set of teeth while they are waiting for implants.
Bridges & Crowns
If you just have one or a few missing teeth, getting a bridge or crown can meet your needs.
- Bridges, also known as fixed partial dentures, can replace two or more teeth. Typically bridges need good healthy and stable neighboring teeth to be used as the supports for the bridge. The natural teeth usually have to be prepared to receive a crown, which now serves as a support for the bridge and missing teeth. However today we can also insert a bridge where there aren’t any teeth by first placing implants and then using these implants as bridge supports.
- Crowns are most commonly made for natural teeth to strengthen them and keep them from breaking, however, if an implant is placed instead of using the natural tooth, a crown can be attached to the implant. Both methods use anchor teeth or implants to hold the bridge in place. If you are missing an entire mouth of teeth, you can have implants installed in key places throughout your mouth and use them as anchors for bridges. This creates a full mouth of relatively permanent teeth.
Visit Your Dentist
If you have concerns about your missing teeth and are looking for the best solution for your situation, schedule a consultation with us. You can also comment below and share your experiences with tooth replacement. We try to answer and reply to all comments in a timely manner.