The Loss of a Good Dental Foundation Can Lead to Future Problems

There are a lot of ways that you can lose a tooth, an accident, dental decay or genetics are all reasons why you may now have a missing piece in your smile. Sure, we all want an inviting and perfect smile and you may want to take care of the missing tooth to make yourself look and feel better. However, there are other reasons to fill that missing gap that are not about simply appearance.

While it may be tempting to avoid fixing the empty space left by your missing tooth you need to understand the consequences. Left unfilled a missing tooth hole can make the rest of the teeth in your mouth shift. This shifting can eventually result in a very mismatched bite and slanted and crooked teeth that cause you problems in the future. Losing a bottom tooth can sometimes mean that there is nothing to hold the upper tooth in place. The tooth above will start dropping down and the tooth next to it will move as well.

Missing teeth can sometimes make it hard to speak. The tooth hole can sometimes cause verbal whistles, a lisp or other speaking complications. The lost tooth or teeth can also change the actual shape of your face. Your teeth are a serious part of the dental and skeletal foundation for your mouth. This means when one or more teeth are gone your facial muscles can sink or fall into the area of the mouth that no longer has a strong foundation. This results is the actual change of your face and can make you look older, weaker or generally unhealthy.

So what can you do to keep all of your teeth from shifting and repositioning themselves around the missing tooth hole? Well, a bridge or an implant will fill the space and save your mouth from future complications. So lets look at these two options in a bit more detail.

A Bridge:  

A dental bridge literally bridges the gap created by the missing teeth. It is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and a false tooth/teeth in between.  There are three main types of dental bridges:

  • Traditional bridges: The most common type of bridge which involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between.
  • Cantilever bridges: These bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
  • Maryland bonded bridges: These are made of plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.

Bridges are often cheaper than implants but you should consider if they are the best option for you and your personal situation. Speaking in-depth with your dentist about the details and options available  will help you decide if getting a bridge is the best option for you.

An Implant:  

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. They provide a strong foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth that are created specifically for you to match your natural teeth. Sometimes implants are used as support for a bridge if you do not have strong teeth in place that can be good support.

The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs. This approach provides coordinated care based on the implant option that is best for you.

As with getting a bridge it is important to have an open conversation with your dentist. Dental implants are often great ways to replace missing teeth but may not be the best option if your jaw health is in question or you smoke. Your dentist can help determine if the process is right for you.

So, if you are missing a tooth remember that there are negative consequences to ignoring the missing space. The choice to take care of your dental needs is not just about your physical appearance but about your overall health and oral care needs. Visit us soon and find out what options will work best for you.