Missing Teeth, Should You Replace Them?

A missing tooth has major consequences for your oral health. Normally, all 32 of your teeth, or 28 if you had your wisdom teeth removed, work together seamlessly to allow you to chew, speak, and smile perfectly. When one of those pearly whites goes missing however, you begin to lose function and suffer other oral health concerns. When you are faced with these possible problems, you’ll need to decide what your options are and if it’s worth it to you to replace your missing tooth.


Reasons to Replace Missing Teeth

The most obvious reason to replace a missing tooth is that it may cause you embarrassment. Missing teeth are often a source of lost confidence and can result in less frequent smiling and laughter. Even if the missing tooth is not visible, your appearance can be affected, as your other teeth will begin to shift to fill the space, thus altering your smile even more.

Another effect of a missing tooth, whether it is toward the front of your mouth or the back, is facial shifting. Your teeth help support the structure of your face. When you lose a tooth, the structure is weakened as the bone and roots that were preserving it begin to deteriorate. Your face will begin to collapse in on itself when you lose your tooth, shrinking the length, causing wrinkles, and realigning your features.

Teeth play a big role in what you can eat. With missing teeth, your diet options become reduced and limited to certain foods. Denser fruits and vegetables and chewy meats or candy can be a problem for you if you have missing teeth. With a limited diet, you may suffer from nutrition loss that will result in other major health concerns.

Missing Teeth Replacement Options

Dentures and partials are one option for missing teeth. Both sit on your gums to fill in any gaps and restore your smile. Dentures provide a whole row of bottom or top teeth while partials fill in a few missing teeth. Both are usually made of resin or porcelain but as a tooth replacement option, dentures have their flaws. Dentures can break and are not as stable as other choices. They also must be taken out for cleaning and do not fully prevent bone loss in the jaw.

You could also choose implants to restore your smile. Implants are required to be surgically positioned in your jaw and act as a stand for the replacement tooth. They are most often chosen to replace a single tooth or several teeth and are the most stable of options. According to the American Dental Association, they can help prevent facial shifting but can take longer to adjust to due to the surgical component.

Another option you can consider for any singular gaps in your smile is a bridge. There are two types of bridges, a composite and a traditional. The traditional requires the adjacent teeth to be ground down and receive a cap to act as posts for the replacement tooth in the center. The composite forgoes grinding your other teeth and only adds a cap to the two adjacent teeth and connects them to the replacement tooth in the center. Both options are difficult to clean but the composite option does not require you to alter your other teeth.

Missing teeth can cause many problems for you in confidence, daily quality of life, and your overall health. Options for replacing teeth are available and highly suggested to restore your smile. Consult with your dentist or visit Bonaventure Dental Care to discuss what option would be the best for you.