Usually, when you think of missing teeth, appearance is the first thing that comes to mind. If you’re missing a few teeth in the back of your mouth it’s no big deal. Right? That’s definitely not the case. Missing teeth anywhere in your mouth can have major effects on your overall oral health. Missing teeth can affect how you chew and talk. They can also change the shape of your healthy teeth and surrounding bones.

The Long-Term Effects of Missing Teeth

Directly after you have a tooth extracted, it takes some time for the surrounding gum tissue to heal. When the healing period is over it’s time for you to think about how you will fill the gap. Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime. Each tooth holds a space in your mouth. When a tooth is extracted, the resulting gap between healthy teeth is a breeding ground for oral health conditions. Some problems caused by missing teeth include:

  • Decay in nearby teeth.
  • Shifting of healthy surrounding teeth.
  • Jawbone loss.
  • Sagging facial skin.
  • Receding gums and gum disease.
  • Loss of confidence.

Permanent Tooth Replacement Options

Whether your teeth have been missing for a long period of time or they were just extracted, there are options for replacement. Fixed replacements (false teeth that remain in place all the time) are the most popular choices. When making a decision about how to replace your missing teeth, it’s important to discuss your options with a dentist. Some factors used to help you make the choice will include your budget, the health of surrounding teeth and gums, and how long your teeth have been missing. The most common permanent tooth replacements are dental implants and crowns and bridges.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. A crown affixed to the implant replaces the visible part of the tooth. Dental implants are a breakthrough in solving some problems caused by missing teeth. These implants effectively replace the root, creating a tooth replacement that functions exactly like your natural teeth. Made of titanium, implants are surgically placed into the jawbone where they eventually fuse to the existing bone.

Some benefits of dental implants include:

  • Strength.
  • Prevention of jawbone loss.
  • Never need to be replaced.
  • No burden to surrounding healthy teeth.
  • Maintain face shape.
  • Look and feel like natural teeth.

Crowns and Bridges

Crowns and bridges work together to fill the gaps left by missing teeth. Crowns can be used to repair damaged, misshapen, or cracked teeth. However, when used with bridges, crowns are affixed to healthy teeth or implants on either side of the gap to anchor an attached bridge. The crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth or implant. A dental bridge consists of two crowns (one on each side) with a false tooth or teeth in between. The bridge is placed by first preparing the surrounding teeth (abutments). The dental bridge is permanently placed by fixing crowns to the prepared teeth.

Some benefits of crowns and bridges include:

  • Match your natural teeth.
  • Prevention of tooth shifting
  • Non-invasive procedure.
  • The ability to replace a row of missing teeth at once.
  • Maintain face shape.

Both options restore your smile with long lasting natural looking replacements. Your dentist will help you decide which procedure is best for your situation. Replacing your missing teeth is an important part of your lasting oral health. Avoid the potential damage caused by gaps between your teeth and learn about your replacement options today.

Protect your smile from further deterioration with one of these services. If you have missing teeth or other unsightly or worrisome oral conditions, contact us to schedule an appointment. The friendly professional dental specialists at all of our locations are happy to answer any questions you have and welcome you to the Simply Beautiful Smiles family.