15% of adult Australians are missing at least a third of their teeth, so you are not alone. There are many solutions available and My Emergency Dentist can offer you a variety of solutions.
What Causes Missing Teeth?
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of 35, commonly caused by prolonged poor oral hygiene. Excessive plaque causes gum disease and if left untreated, the teeth can eventually become loose and fall out.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Tooth decay can result from excessive dietary sugar and acidic drinks and foods. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a full extraction of the tooth.
Physical injuries resulting from sports, accidents, and general injuries are common causes of trauma to teeth. Teeth grinding (clenching the teeth) may also cause physical stress on teeth and can result in loosening and damage to connective tissue.
Can I Ignore A Missing Tooth?
Teeth have an important role in chewing, speaking, and maintaining the general structure and position of your jaw and other teeth. Ignoring a missing tooth can affect the remaining teeth and overall wellbeing.
Bone Loss and Impacted Facial Structure
The jawbone relies on support from the teeth to maintain structure and density. When a tooth is missing, the bone surrounding that tooth can quickly degenerate and weaken and influence the aesthetics of the face.
Overall Decreased Quality of Life
Missing teeth can also impact a person’s ability to chew and speak and studies have shown correlations between compromised chewing ability and poorer general health.
Dental Treatments for Missing Teeth
A dental bridge replaces the gap where the missing teeth were with false teeth by using the adjacent teeth as attachment points.
The healthy teeth on either side of the gap are filed down to ‘posts’, once the permanent bridge is ready, your My Emergency Dentist will cement it onto the previously prepared adjacent teeth.
Benefits and Risks of Bridges
Bridges can last for many years if cared for properly and will restore the gap and provide support to the remaining teeth to avoid developing misalignments.
Proper hygiene is crucial for bridge maintenance, if the two anchor teeth decay, the whole bridge may be compromised and need replacing. Bridges can be difficult to clean, thus brushing with fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing is crucial for maintenance.
Dentures are specially fitted false teeth made to replace missing teeth. Unlike bridges, they are removable, and sit on top of your gums.
Types of Dentures
A full denture is used when all the teeth of your upper or lower jaw are missing, they are specially fitted and rest on the gums. Partial dentures are when there are only some teeth that need to be replaced. Made from plastic, metal, or a mixture, partial dentures are secured by using small metal clasps that grip onto the remaining natural teeth.
After teeth have been removed and the gums have healed, your My Emergency Dentist will take the appropriate measurements to create your dentures. From extraction, healing, completion of dentures, and an adjustment period may take a few months.
Benefits and Risks of Dentures
Dentures will provide the appearance of a full set of teeth, as well as make eating and speaking easier. They are also removable and can be easily cleaned.
It may take a few months to adjust to wearing a new set of dentures. Feelings such as irritation or soreness should go away after 4 to 12 weeks. If you are experiencing persistent soreness and any bleed or swelling of the gums, you may need to see your dentist to get your dentures readjusted.
Dental implants involve a surgical dental operation to replace a missing tooth with a false tooth. Unlike dentures, implants are not removable.
Obtaining a dental implant involves a series of surgeries where a titanium pin ‘post’ is inserted into the gums. Over time, bone will grow around the implant and hold it in place. When stable, an artificial tooth specially made to fit the rest of your mouth is fitted on and cemented on top.
Benefits and Risks of Implants
However, after a successful operation, dental implants provide a longer lasting solution to a missing tooth and does not require special maintenance beyond regular brushing and flossing.
Avoid Missing Teeth!
Decreasing regular sugar consumption and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine can greatly reduce risks of decay and tooth loss. Regular tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and maintaining a dental check up every six months.