Even the loss of just a single tooth can cause an individual to feel self-conscious about the way he or she looks; however, tooth loss causes more than low self-esteem. If the missing tooth is not replaced, the remaining teeth will begin to shift, and an individual’s teeth will no longer fit together properly. This will ultimately lead to the onset of gum problems and tooth decay; thus, causing the loss of additional teeth.
Risks of Not Replacing Missing Teeth:
- Shifting teeth – as time passes, the teeth on either side of the gap left by a missing tooth will begin shifting in an attempt to fill the space. This movement causes gaps between the rest of the teeth, and the shifting teeth may begin twisting or tilting as they move. The teeth that bite against the new space can grow out and shift as well. Besides negatively affecting an individual’s ability to eat, the risk of developing a condition referred to as TMJ increases.
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) – many times, individuals who are missing teeth will chew on one side of their mouth to compensate for the inability to chew on the other side. This typically leads to stiffness, a limited ability when opening the jaw, muscular headaches, popping or clicking, and pain in the temporomandibular joint: This condition is referred to as TMJ syndrome, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
- A breeding ground for bacteria – after the loss of a tooth, bacteria take advantage by moving into the dark caverns that the missing tooth leaves behind; thus, increasing the likelihood of gum disease, cavities in the remaining teeth, and bone loss.
- Bone loss – the small vibrations created when an individual chews stimulate the jawbone; however, once a tooth is missing, that area of the jawbone is no longer being stimulated. Stimulation is one of the most important factors when it comes to keeping the jawbone strong; therefore, without stimulation, it begins to deteriorate. To limit bone loss, replacing a lost tooth as soon as possible is vital in that the height, width and volume of the bone decreases by as much as 25 percent within the first year. This loss of bone will cause a variety of problems related to talking and eating as well as the potential for suffering with fractures and pain. Furthermore, as bone loss continues, an individual’s facial structure begins to change, causing his or her cheeks to appear sunken in: adding years to one’s appearance.
Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
There are several innovative options available for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants offer a potentially permanent solution to an age-old problem: a fixed bridge is a long-term solution and can be used to replace several missing teeth and a removable partial is a relatively inexpensive option for replacing missing teeth.
A dental implant replaces the entire structure of the tooth, including the root. These implants have been used to replace missing teeth for decades. A small titanium-alloy screw is surgically placed within the jawbone. The titanium alloy is unique in that they are biocompatible and the bone itself fuses to the material. Once the fusion (i.e. osseointegration) is complete, the permanent crown can be attached.
- Looks, acts, and feels like a natural tooth
- A potentially permanent solution
- As strong as natural teeth (after osseointegration)
- Stops bone loss
- No concerns related to teeth sliding or clicking
- No special glues or cleaning solutions needed
- Can be used to stabilize a denture
- Can be a lengthy procedure
- A temporary prosthesis is worn while the permanent prosthesis is created
- Osseointegration takes from 3 to 6 months
- Bone grafts may be necessary
- Not always covered by dental insurance companies
A fixed bridge is used to fill a space where one or several teeth are missing. This type of bridge is cemented into place; therefore, once the bridge is bonded, it can only be removed by a dentist.
- A semi-permanent solution
- No concerns related to it moving
- Look, function, and feel like natural teeth
- Do not need to be removed for cleaning
- As time passes, the cement may begin to loosen and break away
- Often more expensive than dental implants
- Teeth on either side of the gap must be filed down in preparation to hold the bridge
- May require extra effort when cleaning under the pontic (replacement for the lost tooth)
- Most likely more expensive than a removable bridge
- A temporary bridge is worn while the permanent bridge is created
- May negatively affect the teeth on either side of the bridge
Our team is ready to serve you with either option under one roof. Dr. Daily has extensive experience in not only placing the dental implant, but restoring it with a crown as well. This ideal treatment choice has now become part of a single process at a single office, Carolina Implant, a branch of Williams and Daily Dental. We love placing dental implants and restoring smiles! Contact us at (919) 846-9070 or [email protected] for a free consult and hear how excited we are to put this new technology to work for you!
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and implant dental practice located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.