Missing teeth can be unsightly. But the problem with missing teeth lies not only in their aesthetics, but also in how they can affect the functionality and health of your mouth and the teeth surrounding. Is it therefore imperative that missing teeth are replaced to ensure your mouth can function in an optimal condition.
What do I do if I lose a tooth? Should I keep the tooth if I lose it?
Yes! If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident that involves the loss of an adult tooth, make sure you locate the tooth. Handle the tooth with extreme care and if possible, place it in a saline solution to keep it clean. Making an emergency call to your dentist is the best way to get on-the-spot advice. They may suggest to attempt to put the sterilised tooth back into the socket, gently biting on a handkerchief and get to their clinic as soon as possible. This may seem extremely difficult or painful, but it can greatly improve the chances of the tooth being re-implanted. Visiting your dentist is non-negotiable! If left unseen, the socket can become infected and cause even greater problems.
What will happen if I don’t replace a missing tooth?
Although you may see many people with missing teeth, leaving a gap for an extended period of time can be detrimental to your mouth.
- Teeth are often supported by each other, and a missing tooth may cause adjacent teeth to begin to move into the new empty space. This can cause crowding, tipping and leaning. This won’t only impact on the way your smile looks, it can also cause teeth to wear and bump against each other.
- Your jaw is constantly stimulated by the natural chewing and grinding pressures travelling along the tooth’s root, keeping the area active and healthy. When there is no longer a tooth to stimulate the jaw bone, the area can begin to waste away. This means that the gum tissue will recede and the jaw can begin to resorb, impacting on the fullness of the face shape. You may be familiar with the sunken look of a face where teeth are missing; this is because the jaw has resorbed!
- A missing tooth may cause you to subconsciously favour one side more than the other when chewing, which can put greater pressure on those teeth and can excessive wear.
- Your speech may be affected.
- Missing teeth may cause problems with your gums, due to decay or infection. This could lead to periodontal disease, which has been linked to more serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes.
How can I replace a missing tooth?
There are several options available to replace a missing tooth, each with their own benefits. Ultimately, the choice will come down to the individual case, the number of teeth needing replacement, the recommendation from your dentist, and your personal budget. Missing tooth replacement options include:
Dental implants are the most effective way to replace missing teeth, as they function just as a natural tooth would. A titanium rod is placed into the socket to act as the tooth’s root and is usually capped with a dental crown. This solution not only acts as a tooth, it is also strong, durable, long-lasting and natural-looking.
A dental bridge is a prosthetic device which, as the name suggests, creates a bridge between two existing teeth to fill a gap. The two adjacent teeth act as the ‘anchors’ and the replacement tooth is attached between both. This option is effective, but isn’t as durable as an implant and may need to be replaced or revised eventually.
Dentures are a popular, effective and cost-efficient solution for patients who are missing multiple teeth. They can be partial (replacing several teeth in the dental arch) or full (replacing all teeth in the dental arch) and can be secured with implants or removable.
How much does it cost to replace a missing tooth?
The material cost of replacing teeth pales in comparison to the cost to your health! It is difficult to make an accurate quote, as it can depend on the type of replacement, the material used and the number of teeth missing. The best way to determine the cost is to book in for a consultation with your friendly dentist at Iris Dental on 93947877 today!