The dentists at The Frederick Dental Clinic recommend replacing missing teeth for a host of reasons. Aside from the obvious aesthetic impact of gaps in the smile, losing teeth can also increase the risk of many other dental issues. Whether you have a single lost tooth or multiple missing teeth, there are numerous advantages to seeking tooth replacement treatment and there are some amazing treatments on offer today. Here are some of the problems caused by missing teeth:
Aesthetics and self-confidence
Missing teeth have an obvious impact on the look of the smile and this can also contribute to decreased confidence and self-esteem. Your smile is one of your most noticeable features and gaps can look unhealthy and unattractive; replacing missing teeth can help to make the smile look youthful and healthy and restore confidence.
Increased risk of gum disease and decay
Missing teeth leave gaps, which can attract bacteria and food debris. When bits of leftover food get trapped, they can then combine with saliva and bacteria to create a plaque, a sticky, film-like substance, which clings to the enamel surfaces of the teeth and the gums. The bacteria in plaque release acids, which attack the enamel and irritate the gums, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease. Replacing missing teeth helps to make teeth cleaning easier and reduce the chances of oral health problems.
When you lose teeth, this can cause the surrounding teeth to move out of position, which increases the risk of orthodontic issues related to the alignment of the teeth and the bite, which is the relationship between the upper and lower sets of teeth and the jaw. Patients with missing teeth have an elevated risk of TMJ disorder, which is a group of symptoms that affects the TMJ (temporomandibular joint); this is the joint that joins the lower jaw to the skull and symptoms include stiffness and restricted movement, clicking and popping noises and pain in and around the joint, headaches and neck and shoulder pain.
When the teeth are lost, the supporting bone structure can also become weaker, leading to bone loss, also known as bone resorption. The longer gaps are left, the higher the risk of bone loss.
Tooth replacement treatments
There are various options available to patients with missing teeth and modern treatments are very lifelike, so you can enjoy the benefits of strong, healthy and attractive teeth once again. Treatments include:
Dental bridges : dental bridges are commonly used to replace a single tooth or a small number of missing teeth and they can be made from carious materials, including metals and ceramics. Porcelain bridges are popular because they match the natural teeth seamlessly. Bridges are custom-made and treatment usually involves two sessions 2-3 weeks apart. Bridges are more affordable than dental implants and they should last around 10-15 years.
Dentures : dentures have been used for years and they are improving all the time; modern dentures look like natural teeth and they offer high standards of functionality. Dentures are usually made from plastic, metal and acrylic and they are sets of false teeth, which are designed to mimic natural teeth. You can get partial or complete dentures to replace entire arches or multiple missing teeth.
Dental implants : dental implants are a long-term option for patients with missing teeth and they offer the same level of functionality as healthy natural teeth. The actual implant is designed to replace the tooth root and it looks like a small screw; like the rot, the implant sits in a socket in the jaw bone and once it has integrated into the bone tissue, it is then connected to the replacement crown, bridge or denture and the smile will be restored to its former glory. Implants are the most expensive option, but they last the longest.
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