Losing a tooth can be devastating to your oral and facial features in many ways. To maintain your oral health, it is important to see a dentist about tooth replacement options
People with lost tooth can encounter a number of problems with common everyday activities such as chewing, talking, and even have an impact on self-esteem. Missing tooth is a lot more common than you might imagine.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 3.75% of adults between the ages of 20-64 have no teeth remaining. If you’ve lost a tooth, your dentist can offer you several replacement options, which may include dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Here are important things you should know about fixing a missing tooth or teeth.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root which is inserted into the jaw to replace a lost tooth. To fix a dental implant, a metal post is surgically placed into the bone below the gums by a periodontist.
A crown (which is a replacement tooth) is then attached to the post so that it looks like a natural tooth. If you have lost more than one tooth, then the dental implant is used together with bridges or dentures to secure the tooth attachment firmly.
When a patient is in great overall health, dental implant are often the first choice for the following reasons:
- They do not affect adjacent teeth.
- They look and feel like natural teeth.
- They are more secure than removable dentures.
However, for a person to be considered a prime candidate to receive dental implants, they must be in overall good health, have a healthy enough jawbone, and the gum should be healthy and disease-free. Some people have to get bone grafts before they can get dental implants.
A dental bridge is often considered when a person is missing one or more teeth. A dental bridge “bridges” the gap between a missing tooth and surrounding teeth. The dental bridge is bonded onto the teeth surrounding the gap made by a missing tooth. Two major types of dental bridges are removable bridges and implant bridges.
- A removable bridge just like the name implies can be removed, cleaned and put back in place by the owner.
- An implant bridge is usually attached to a dental implant.
Dental bridges are usually made from various materials which could be any of gold, different alloys, and porcelain. Dr. Susan Long, a dentist at Advanced Dental Concept says, “If you are going for the most natural looking tooth replacement, then porcelain should be your choice”
Dental bridges function to maintain the integrity of their bite, their chewing and the production of speech. Dental bridges also maintain the shape of the face and helps the wearer smile with more confidence.
Dentures are false teeth. They are usually best for people who have lost all or most of their teeth. They can be taken out of the mouth and replaced.
While it might take a while for a person to get used to the feel of dentures, modern dentures feel a lot better and are more comfortable than before. Dentures are made from impressions of the wearer’s mouth in a dental laboratory. A flesh coloured acrylic base is placed to fit over the gum.
There are two types of dentures available, and you should speak to your dentist to determine which one will best suit your lifestyle.
- Complete Dentures – this is for people who have no teeth, or who need to have what’s left of their teeth removed. An immediate full denture can be placed in the mouth immediately after the remaining teeth are removed, They would need to be relined about six months after insertion. A conventional full denture is inserted only after full healing has occurred, which can take several months. If you choose a conventional full denture, you will have to go months without any teeth.
- Overdentures – if you have implants or some remaining natural teeth, then you can use overdentures. A dentist has to make sure that your remaining teeth or your dental implants are strong enough to provide the required support.
Dentures help you regain the functions of chewing, speaking and even smiling with confidence. However, it may take some time before it starts to feel normal again.
While losing your tooth might seem like the end of the world, a visit to a great dentist can soon have you feeling like yourself again. Knowledge is power, so while you need to know all the options available to you, listen to your dentist’s recommendations and voice any fears you may have.
Replacement tooth needs special care, so be sure to listen when your dentist gives you tips on how to best care for your replacements. At the first sign of trouble, schedule a visit to your dentist without any further delay. That will forestall you needing emergency visits.