5 Reasons to Fix That Gap in Your Mouth
Have you lost a tooth? Over time, a missing tooth can cause problems for the rest of your mouth. Here is what can happen:
- A missing tooth can affect your chewing. Each tooth plays an important role in processing food. A missing tooth changes the natural way your food is broken down. Also, the adjacent teeth can experience more force to make up for the missing tooth which can cause damage to them.
- When we lose a tooth we no longer get the stress that is exerted on the jaw area where the tooth is missing. Without that stress, the density of the jaw can diminish. Chewing on teeth anchored in and around the jaw provides the optimal way to stress and exercise the density of the jawbones. It’s the principle of ‘use it or lose it’ regarding the jaw bone.
- The teeth on either side of the missing tooth space will move and drift into the missing tooth’s space. This can cause teeth to go crooked. Also, it is much harder to keep the teeth clean when they are not aligned properly.
- The root structure of adjacent teeth that is normally covered by gum and bone may become exposed.
- Appearance can also suffer because of tooth loss. A gap in teeth is quite noticeable in a smile.
The bottom line is that the longer you wait to replace a missing tooth the more damage you risk to your remaining teeth and your bone structure. The best solution is to replace the missing tooth and preserve your teeth and jaw bone.
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth.
An implant improves appearance, speech, and comfort. Also, they are durable and will last many years and could last a lifetime. It will help with the problem of deteriorating jaw bone because there will be a “tooth” there to create the force of a natural tooth.
It is a more expensive procedure than other solutions and requires multiple visits to complete the procedure.
A bridge is a prosthetic tooth fixed to one or both (usually both) adjacent teeth and is not removed. We use dental bridges to bridge the gap caused by tooth loss between the teeth. The conventional bridge uses a crown-type structure on the supporting teeth. The bridge may be made of porcelain-metal or metal-free zirconia (a high strength white mineral).
Costs much less than an implant and can usually be completed within two visits. It replaces your missing teeth and it restores the function of your teeth – like chewing and speaking properly. It prevents your remaining teeth from shifting.
A dentist has to “shave down” the two teeth on either side of the bridge to fix the bridge to them. This means we have to take away healthy enamel that protects the teeth from tooth decay.
A REMOVABLE PARTIAL DENTURE
Firstly, we take a mold of your teeth in our office. Then lab technicians use the mold to make artificial teeth that they insert into a resin base with clasps that hold the partial denture in place.
They cost less than a fixed replacement. They are less invasive and have a lower cost than other tooth replacement options. If some natural teeth can be saved, partial dentures are a much better option than a complete denture.
They tend to be a bit bulkier than just having a normal tooth in place but if fitted correctly this feeling usually goes away in a short time. Sticky foods such as soft candies and cheese can stick to them and cause them to come out. They can increase the build-up of plaque around the abutment teeth which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Trauma to the abutment teeth or gums can occur from pressure or movement of the partial. Bone loss at the sites of missing teeth can occur and over time can affect adjacent teeth
In summary, there are pros and cons to each solution for a missing tooth. Unfortunately, there is no one perfect solution. But one thing is certain, if you do nothing, the empty space is going to cause more trouble than doing something about it with one of the solutions above. The best thing to do is contact us and make an appointment. We will talk it over with you so you have all the information and can make an informed decision.
Let’s get you a beautiful, healthy smile.
Dr. Tyler Christensen