Losing teeth can be a frightening prospect and can, unfortunately, have repercussions far beyond the more immediate cosmetic concerns. Tooth loss commonly occurs from decay, gum disease, illness or accident. Deciding whether or not to replace missing teeth is a highly personal choice, but there are important factors you should consider when making this decision. It is true that many people are able to survive and adapt to having no teeth. However, missing teeth can negatively impact your quality of life in several ways.
Why Should I Replace Missing Teeth?
The most immediate concern when it comes to gaps in your teeth is how this will make you look. If you are missing front teeth, you may feel self-conscious when you smile or talk. But missing teeth can also affect your face in other ways. Teeth help to stabilise your lips and cheeks from the inside. Without them, you face lacks this inside support and as a result, your cheeks and lips will become more hollow and saggy, making your face look older.
Jaw Bone and Gums
If you lose a back tooth, you may not feel an immediate concern to have tooth replacement. However, when you lose teeth, your gum and bone are no longer stimulated. Consequently, the jaw bone starts shrinking and the gum pulls back. Through lack of stability, neighbouring teeth are no longer supported and can start to collapse or move. This can make it more difficult to replace the teeth in the future and can lead to further loss of teeth.
Tooth Movement and Eating
Another issue that can arise when you lose teeth is a change in the way you bite and eat. After a tooth is removed, the surrounding teeth often move which can result in crooked teeth and changes in your bite. Removing teeth can also limit the foods you can eat and make biting and chewing more difficult.
When Should I Replace a Tooth?
Generally, it is better to replace a tooth sooner rather than later to avoid complications such as tooth movement, bite changes and jaw bone shrinkage. It is best to talk to your dentist before your tooth is removed or just after to determine what your options are.
What Missing Tooth Replacement Options Are Available?
There are a variety of tooth replacement options available including dental implants, bridges, and dentures.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium which replaces the missing tooth by being inserted into the jaw bone. The implant creates the foundation for a crown which is the visible tooth. Dental implants are the most advanced solution available, creating a look and feel just like a natural tooth. Not only do they give you a permanent solution for missing teeth, they also help to retain your bone structure. This helps to prevent movement of adjacent teeth or gum shrinkage.
Bridges consist of a set of several replacement teeth and are a permanent solution to weakened teeth, large fillings or gaps. They are used in alongside crowns to replace a missing tooth or teeth. However, unlike dental implants, bridges do not prevent your gums from receding and your jaw bone shrinking. To prevent this you will require a dental implant.
Dentures have been around for a long time now and offer a convenient solution to partial or full teeth loss. Today’s dentures look far more natural and are much more comfortable than they were in the past. While dentures may not have all the benefits of implants, they can provide a lower cost solution and do not require any invasive surgery. They can also be easily removed and cleaned.
How Do You Know What Option is Best For You?
Determining whether to get your missing teeth replaced and which dental tooth replacement option is best for you is a very personal choice. However, replacing missing teeth can help you maintain a proper bite and prevent future tooth complications. At Superior Smiles, we are happy to discuss your options and preferences to find a solution that works best for you. Call us today to make an appointment!