Should You Replace a Missing Tooth?
3 Min Read
Tooth loss occurs from trauma, gum disease, or tooth decay and can leave you in a predicament.
No one wants to have a gap in their mouth where a tooth should be; however, replacing a missing tooth can be a confusing and pricey investment that is often not anticipated.
You have many options to choose from when replacing a missing tooth, including partial dentures, bridges, and implants.
Are There Risks to Not Replacing a Missing Tooth?
While some individuals rush to their dentist the moment they lose a tooth, others question whether or not they need to replace the tooth that was lost.
Unfortunately, not replacing a missing tooth leads to aesthetic, functional, and more significant health complications.
What Are the Aesthetic Complications With a Missing Tooth?
A healthy smile is a full smile, and the presence of a missing tooth can blatantly stand out and affect your facial appearance and self-esteem.
Replacing a missing tooth restores a natural, healthy, and beautiful smile.
What Are the Functional Complications With a Missing Tooth?
When a tooth is not replaced, the surrounding teeth have more space in the mouth. This space allows the surrounding teeth to shift, altering the alignment of your bite. This, in turn, can cause speech impediments and lead to difficulty chewing.
What Risk Does a Missing Tooth Pose to Your Overall Health?
When you lose a tooth, you also lose the tooth root, and a tooth root is just as important to the health of the bone as it is to the exposed tooth. A missing tooth leads to bone deterioration, which can increase your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and oral infections.
What Are Your Dental Options for a Missing Tooth?
What Are Partial Dentures?
While partial dentures are not usually used to replace a single tooth, they can be used to replace multiple teeth in any specific quadrant of the mouth.
Partial dentures look and function like natural teeth (allowing you to eat and speak normally); however, they need to be removed each night, collect food easily, and do not prevent the deterioration of the jawbone.
Partial dentures are the most cost-effective option, but they are not as durable, and most patients prefer one of the other methods.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a permanent fixture in your mouth that fills the gap of the missing tooth with a crown restoration. This option secures the replacement tooth in the mouth by attaching and covering the adjacent teeth with dental crowns—the missing tooth replaced is a pontic.
Dental bridges look, feel, and function naturally; however, you need to sacrifice the two surrounding teeth, and—like dentures–a bridge does not prevent the deterioration of the bone.
Eventually, you may notice a gap beneath the pontic of the missing tooth.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is the most permanent, functional, and all-around best way to replace a missing tooth. An implant is an artificial tooth root that acts as a base for an implant crown restoration.
Because the dental implant is surgically inserted into the jawbone, it preserves the integrity of the bone, and implants do not require any surrounding teeth to be compromised.
Dental implants provide long-lasting dental health and are maintained the same way as your natural teeth.