Missing Teeth – What Are Your Options?
Missing teeth these days is unfortunately quite common, and most often comes from the removal of a severely affected tooth at the dentist, although occasionally in some individuals they may simply be missing these teeth naturally. It may not seem like a big deal to lose just one tooth, but what can this mean for us long term?
Changes from missing teeth
When a tooth is removed, it naturally leaves a space in the arch of the mouth where all our teeth sit together. Although it may not happen overnight, long term this can lead to the teeth either side tipping over sideways, a bit like books on a book shelf when a book is taken out. This can make it very hard to keep these teeth clean, leading to gum issues on the teeth either side, and can also increase the chance of getting cavities on these teeth too!
The other change we may start to see can be the tooth below growing taller out of the gum as it tries to find something to bite against. If left for long enough, sometimes this can mean that there is not enough height to fit another tooth back into the empty space again. It can also mean the tooth below has less stability in the mouth as it is coming further out of the jaw bone.
With enough missing teeth, our whole bite can end up changing dramatically, leaving us with less teeth to bite on, and more work for the teeth left in the mouth – which can also lead to more stress and strain on these teeth! Sometimes we see this as teeth or fillings chipping or breaking.
Ok, so we know that missing teeth are bad… but what are my options?
Luckily there are several options to replace a lost tooth that range in price, looks and difficulty.
- Dentures – these can be removed and can help to replace several teeth at once. Don’t fear – not everyone has to have all their teeth removed for a denture! Partial dentures are an excellent option when there are only a few teeth missing.
- Bridges – a false porcelain tooth can be attached to the teeth either side. These are glued in permanently and can be a very natural looking option for a missing tooth.
- Implants – a false tooth is placed permanently into the jaw bone, much like how a real tooth sits in the jaw. This does not rely on the teeth next door to your missing tooth and is the most like having your natural tooth returned.
Depending on where your missing tooth is, the condition of your teeth and gums next door, and the way that your teeth come together, this will also determine what the best option for you is. The best way to find out is normally to book in with your dentist so that they can assess your mouth and let you know what your options are, and what might be best for you. If you are missing teeth and would like an assessment of what can be done, call the practice on 3067 7990.