Did you know that by age 50, most Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth? In addition, 26 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have lost all of their teeth. Tooth loss can have many causes, such as genetic conditions, cavities, gum disease, and trauma to the mouth. Certain habits can also contribute to premature tooth loss, such as smoking, poor nutrition, poor oral hygiene, and lack of access to dental care.
The Consequences of Tooth Loss
While missing one or two teeth might not seem like a big deal, the consequences of tooth loss can be lifelong. This can cause bone loss, affect chewing patterns, and lead to other health conditions. Missing a visible tooth can also impact a person’s self-esteem and confidence.
The natural teeth surrounding the missing tooth may shift their position to fill the space. This movement can result in misalignment, such as bite irregularities that make eating more difficult. Missing teeth can also alter facial appearance. If certain teeth are missing, it can cause “facial collapse,” making a person look older than they really are.
Options for Replacing a Missing Tooth
Dental implants are one of the most popular options for replacing missing teeth. This highly reliable treatment option looks and feels like a real tooth. When properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. The process of getting a dental implant can be lengthy, requiring the replacement of the natural tooth root with metal screws designed to anchor the false tooth in place.
An implant-supported bridge is an excellent treatment option for patients that have multiple missing teeth in a row. With this treatment, a tooth at each end is secured with implants and the teeth in the middle do not require screws. Like a single dental implant, an implant-support bridge provides a natural look.
Another popular option for replacing multiple missing teeth is a tooth-supported bridge. This uses the existing teeth to support the bridge, rather than two implants like an implant-supported bridge. As there is no surgery required, the process is less invasive.
Removable Partial Denture
Removable partial dentures are a simpler and more affordable way to replace missing teeth. A removable partial denture is set in place using metal clasps. Additional teeth can be added to the partial denture if they are lost in the future. Partial dentures are also easy to repair and replace if needed.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
If you have recently lost a tooth, you may be wondering what your options are for replacement. Fortunately, there are several excellent options, such as dental implants, dental bridges, and dentures. With their smile restored, many patients find that they look younger, can enjoy their favorite foods again, have enhanced speech, and overall improved oral health.