Having all your teeth is an essential part of being able to have a conversation, sing along to the radio, and being able to eat three meals a day. Missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic disturbance, but it can also affect your health. If you have one or more missing teeth, you have options like implants and dentures to make your smile full again.
Causes of Missing Teeth
People can have missing teeth due to a number of different conditions or accidents. American College of Prosthodontists lists tooth decay, gum disease, and injury as the most common reasons people lose their teeth. However, genetic factors can cause babies to be born without certain teeth. This is known as congenitally missing teeth and is often seen in generations of families. Further, they explain, certain systemic conditions can also result in missing one or more teeth. No matter the reason you’re missing certain teeth, it’s important to get them replaced to continue eating, talking, and supporting your jaw and remaining teeth properly.
Teeth Replacement Options
A dental implant is a tooth restoration that is best for patients who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any of the other causes mentioned above.
A dental implant is a metal post that the dentist surgically placed into the jaw to replace the root of the lost tooth. Once in position, and the bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a crown, which serves as a replacement tooth, is attached to the implant.
In most cases, implants are more costly than other methods of tooth replacement, but they come with far more benefits. Dental implants are stronger than natural teeth and can usually last anywhere from 10-20 years. Implants are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depend on the nearby teeth for support. Due to this, they do not weaken the remaining teeth like bridges can. Implants help keep a one-tooth-problem a one-tooth-problem, rather than involving additional teeth like a bridge does.
To be a candidate for implants, a patient has to have healthy gums and enough bone to support the implant. It is also important to maintain excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits to ensure long-term success with the implants.
Partial & Full Dentures
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and neighboring tissues. There are two types of dentures available: partial and complete dentures.
Partial dentures are used when a patient still has some natural teeth, while complete dentures are used to replace all of the teeth in one or both arches (upper and lower). Dentures can be made to resemble or improve upon your natural teeth. In fact, dentures may be the best way to improve your smile.
Implant Retained Dentures
An implant retained partial denture is a denture that is held in place by dental implants and can be removed from the mouth during sleep or when dentures need cleaning. However, unlike traditional dentures that slip into place, partial dentures are attached to fixed titanium posts embedded in the jawbone that resemble natural tooth roots.
Implant retained partial dentures are often much better for patients than conventional dentures because of how they keep the jawbone constantly stimulated as you eat and chew. This stops the bones from receding, which inevitably happens when natural teeth are missing.
Implant retained partial dentures are also made to evenly distribute chewing forces across the mouth. This makes them work as if they were natural teeth. Additionally, they also act in harmony with the remaining original teeth. When a patient gets these special partials, they can typically enjoy daily life and eating without pain, discomfort, or embarrassment.
Preventing Missing Teeth
Did you know that by the age of 50, most Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth? This is a staggering number that, in many instances, can be prevented with taking proper care of your teeth. The most common reason people lose their teeth is because of tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can be prevented. To prevent tooth loss, you should have have a strict oral hygiene routine that includes:
- Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day
- Flossing once each day
- Using fluoride
- Wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth during sports
- Seeing your dentist every six months
If you do these things diligently, you are more likely to keep your teeth intact as they should be.
Fill Your Smile with Dr. Ashley Niles
If you’re ready to replace your missing teeth, make an appointment with Dr. Niles and Niles Family Dentistry today. Whether it’s one tooth gone or multiple, there are options for you. Call now! (720)-744-0001.