When a person is missing teeth it can affect their self confidence, but it can also make it difficult to do things we need to do each day like chew, drink, and talk. In the United States alone, more than 36 million people do not have any teeth, while 120 million people are missing at least one tooth. What causes tooth loss? How can you replace your teeth and restore your smile? In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know.
What Causes Missing Teeth?
There are a number of different reasons as to why someone could be missing teeth. First, it could be genetic. When a person is missing teeth and it runs in the family, this is called congenitally missing teeth. Further, missing teeth can be caused by tooth decay, gum disease, injury, or accidents.
How Can Tooth Decay Cause Tooth Loss?
Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is when decay-causing bacteria damages a tooth. When this happens, your mouth creates acids that attack the tooth’s enamel. Over a short period of time, this can cause a small hole in the tooth, which is what we know as cavities. If not treated, it can become painful and infected.
When an infection occurs because of the cavity and decay occurs, the pulp of the tooth can become compromised. After this happens, patients often need to have a root canal or the tooth removed completely.
Replacement Options for Missing Teeth
If you have one missing tooth or multiple, here are your options to restore your smile:
- Implant restorations
- Partial dentures
- Full dentures
- Implant retained dentures
A dental implant is a tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of one of the reasons discussed above. A dental implant is a metal post that the dentist surgically positions into the jaw to replace the root of the lost tooth. Once in place, and the bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a crown, which serves as a replacement tooth is attached to the implant post.
Implants are often more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, but they provide benefits that can’t be beat. Implants are tougher than natural teeth and they can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support. This means they do not weaken the remaining teeth the way a bridge can. Additionally, the best part is that implants effectively keep a one tooth problem a one tooth problem, rather than involving additional teeth the way a bridge does.
It is important to note that to be a good candidate for implants, you need to have healthy gums and enough healthy bone to support the implant. It is also vital to have a strict oral hygiene routine and see the dentist regularly for the long-term success of dental implants.
Partial & Full Dentures
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures.
If you have some natural teeth left, partial dentures are used. On the other hand, complete dentures are used to replace all of the teeth on the upper or lower portion of your mouth. 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 at night when you go to bed or when they need to be cleaned. However, unlike conventional dentures which simply slip into place, these partials are anchored to fixed titanium posts embedded in the jawbone that mimic your tooth’s natural roots.
Implant retained partial dentures are often preferred over standard dentures because the implants keep the jawbone stimulated 24/7 with the vibrations of chewing and eating. This prevents bone recession that always results when natural teeth are missing.
Implant retained partial dentures are also intended to evenly distribute chewing forces over the entirety of the arch and surrounding. This makes them work more like natural teeth, and to act in harmony with remaining natural teeth. A person with these special partials can better enjoy daily life and eating without stress, discomfort, or embarrassment.
Replace Missing Teeth with Dr. Niles
Dr. Ashley Niles is committed to bringing her patients the best and most advanced dentistry the profession has to offer. If you have one or more missing teeth, come see Dr. Niles to talk about your replacement options. Make an appointment today by calling our office at (720)-744-0001.