Because our teeth is one of the last resort we put attention to, many of us tend not to take our teeth too seriously. Some of us might think that having missing one or two teeth will not cause any problems. This is because we do not see the immediate effect of a missing tooth. However if the missing tooth is at the front, we might then take it very seriously because it can affect our social life and the way we speak. Imagine not having teeth at the front, it can affect your life and your social well being, and sometimes your job too. This is an immediate effect we see having missing front teeth. But what if the tooth missing is located at the back? Do we tend to see it as an important factor to replace it? Well, as a dentist and as a friend, I would always recommend replace missing teeth.
Just imagine having a leaking roof. Not patching up the leaking roof, through time rain water will damage the internal walls, floors, and also the furniture. This is the same as our teeth. If a tooth is taken out and not replaced, it will cause other problems. The damage will not be immediate as the problems build through time. So what are the problems we will have for not replacing missing teeth?
Below are some problems when a missing tooth is not replaced:
- Drifting of the neighboring teeth – Since your teeth rely on each other to bite and function properly. Having missing teeth there cause your neighboring teeth to drift to the missing tooth area.
- Sensitivity – Since your teeth has drift to the missing tooth area, the roots of the tooth will be exposed causing sensitivity.
- Caries – Food traps between teeth will be easier causing difficulty in cleaning. This increases the bacteria growth around the neighboring teeth, increasing the risk of dental decays.
- Gum diseases – Sometimes when a tooth has drifted, pockets around the neighboring teeth will build up. This allows bacteria to penetrate between the gums and the tooth cause gum inflammation and eventually gum diseases.
- Bone Reduction – Our body works as a system. So when a tooth is missing the bone surrounding that area will loose its volume. The bone will reduce in height and also width. If you have lots of missing teeth it will cause shrinking of the jaw bone and eventually it will change the way you chew and bite food. This will cause occlusion problems and in the future will cause pain at the TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint) area.
These are just some of the main consequences of having missing teeth. As these consequences are not immediate effect, but if the tooth is not replaced it will cause these problems. So the question is, if I have a missing tooth how will I know which treatment is best for replacing my missing teeth?
The best treatment for replacing missing teeth differ from individuals to individuals. One type of treatment might be the best for one person however it might not be the best for you. The best treatment should take into the consideration of your overall health, the amount of missing teeth, the location of the missing teeth, your commitment, and many more. But I will list out some of the ways you can consider when replacing missing teeth.
Some of the popular ways to replace missing teeth: (You can click on them to find out more)
- Removable Dentures – This is the most affordable way to replace missing teeth. There are hard and soft types of dentures.
- Snap on Smile – This is one of a removable appliances. It helps in replacing missing teeth and also corrects your smile, giving you a better smile.
- Fiber Splint Resin Bridge – Using your adjacent teeth as a support to build a missing tooth. This can be done in one dental visit, but there are lots of restrictions and it also depends on where the missing tooth is located.
- Traditional Dental Bridge – This is one of the most common way to replace missing tooth or teeth. By using your adjacent teeth as a support to build up missing tooth. The difference between Dental Bridge and Resin Bridge are the material. Traditional Dental Bridge are stronger as they are made up of Porcelain and metal or Zirconia. Most cases it takes two dental visits to complete. There are other materials out there but most used materials are Porcelain Fused Metal or Zirconia.
- Dental Implants – If you are able to replace missing tooth or teeth with dental implants, you should. I highly recommend replacing missing teeth with dental implants, because they can help preserve the bone structure of the missing teeth. Till, now there are no other treatment that helps preserve the bone structure like Dental Implants can. They can be made out of Titanium or Zirconia. Dental Implants are placed into the bone of the missing teeth for support, and it has a high success rate. This is still one of the best way to replace missing teeth but unfortunately not everyone is the right candidate.
We now know it is very important to replace missing teeth. To avoid the long term consequences of missing teeth it is good to replace them whenever you can. Like one of my client said, “Since I am going to do the treatment soon or later, why not do it now. Because the longer I wait the more problems I have to deal with.”