A missing tooth in dental terms refers to a condition where a natural tooth is no longer present in the mouth. There are many reasons why a tooth may be missing, including injury, decay, gum disease, or genetics.
Missing teeth can have several negative impacts on your oral health, including difficulty chewing and speaking, shifting of remaining teeth, jawbone loss, and a decreased sense of self-confidence. That is why it is essential to discuss tooth replacement options with your dentist to prevent these complications and maintain good oral health.
Impact of Missing Teeth
There are many reasons for missing teeth.The following is a breakdown of the impact of tooth loss:6
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Dietary issues and insufficient eating (related to the above)
- Lowered self-esteem and sense of attractiveness
- Altered bite (even one missing tooth will cause surrounding teeth to migrate)
- Loss and deterioration of bone
- Weakened jaw muscles and structure
- Increased risk for further tooth loss, cavities, or other dental problems
there are several options available for replacing a missing tooth, including:
- Dental Implants: Dental implants are a popular and effective long-term solution for missing teeth. A small titanium post is surgically place into the jawbone to act as a replacement tooth root. Then, a dental crown attach to the implant, providing a natural-looking and functional replacement tooth.
- Dental Bridges: Neighboring teeth support a dental bridge, which is a prosthetic tooth. Typically, dentists attach two dental crowns to the teeth on either side of the gap, with an artificial tooth in the middle..
- Dentures: Dentures are removable prosthetic teeth that can replace one or more missing teeth. There are two types: partial dentures that replace a few missing teeth and complete dentures that replace all teeth.
- Metal Partial Dentures: Partial dentures are custom-made to fit in the mouth and replace one or more missing teeth. They can be attached to the remaining teeth using clasps or precision attachments.
- Removable Dentures: Removable dentures are used when several teeth are missing, or the remaining teeth are not strong enough to support a fixed dental bridge or implant.
Your dentist can help you decide which option is best for you based on factors such as the location of the missing tooth, the health of the surrounding teeth and gums, and your overall oral health.