How One Gap Can Lead to Multiple Oral Health Issues
In my years of dental practice, I’ve heard countless patients say, ‘Just pull the tooth, I don’t want to save it.’ While it’s understandable to want a quick fix, what many don’t realize is how damaging this decision can be to their oral health. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into the consequences of untreated missing teeth and the options available to replace them.
The Importance of Saving Your Natural Teeth
- Chewing Efficiency: This is a no-brainer. Nothing in this world can replace the efficacy of your natural teeth. They chew way better than implants or any denture ever made. Better chewing leads to better digestion, which improves overall health.
- Lifespan: With proper care and maintenance, natural teeth can last a lifetime, whereas artificial teeth have a limited lifespan and need to be replaced periodically.
- Cost-effectiveness: The cost of preserving natural teeth is often lower than the cost of extensive dental work required to replace missing teeth with artificial alternatives.
- Speech: Missing teeth can significantly affect a person’s speech, especially if it’s a front tooth. The gaps created by missing teeth can make it difficult to form certain sounds, resulting in a lisp or other speech difficulties. Dentures can also pose similar challenges, as they can shift or slip in the mouth, causing speech impediments.
Consequences of Untreated Missing Teeth:
- Alignment issues: Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift into the empty space, leading to a domino effect. Each tooth that was in contact with the now-lost tooth would keep moving in that direction. That means the tooth above will start coming down, and teeth on the adjacent sides will move into the empty space. This seemingly insignificant movement can cause these teeth to lose contact with their adjacent teeth, leading to food lodgement and tooth decay.
One study published in the Journal of Dental Research found that adjacent teeth can shift as much as 1.4 millimeters within six months of tooth extraction.
- Bone and tooth loss: Our teeth and jaws rely on each other for support. A part of our jaw bone surrounds the tooth root from all directions, providing stability to the tooth. So, when you lose a tooth, the bone that supports it also starts to deteriorate, leading to bone loss. This results in the loosening of teeth on either side of the missing tooth, and eventually, they may fall out as well.The more teeth you lose, the more your jaw shape changes. Over time, this can cause your face to appear shorter and more sunken, impacting your overall facial aesthetics.
Options for replacing missing teeth:
Missing teeth can have a significant impact on a person’s self-confidence and oral health. Whether due to injury, decay, or disease, the loss of a tooth can create a gap in the mouth that should be replaced.
There are several options available to replace missing teeth, each with its own benefits and considerations.
- Implants: Dental implant is by far the best option out there to replace missing teeth.
A dental implant has three parts: post, abutment, and prosthesis.
The post is like a screw that is placed in the jawbone,
The abutment acts as a connector,
Prosthesis means a crown, bridge, or denture that attaches to the abutment and replaces the missing tooth or teeth.
The post acts like an artificial tooth root and provides a stable foundation for the replacement tooth, while the crown or other prosthesis looks and functions like a natural tooth.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology in 2020 found the survival rate of dental implants to be 95.7% after 10 years and 91.2% after 20 years, indicating that dental implants can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
- Bridge:Bridges are another option for replacing missing teeth. They involve anchoring an artificial tooth to adjacent healthy teeth, filling in the gap created by the missing tooth. While bridges can be an effective solution, they do require the removal of some of the healthy tooth structure from the supporting teeth, which can weaken them over time.
- Dentures: Dentures are a removable option for replacing missing teeth. They can be a good choice for those who have lost multiple teeth, as they can be customized to fit the individual’s mouth and provide a natural-looking smile. However, dentures can be less stable than implants or bridges and require regular maintenance.
They may take some time to adjust to and can affect speech and chewing ability at first, but with practice, most patients find them to be a comfortable and effective solution for replacing missing teeth.
Regardless of the option chosen, it is important to address missing teeth to prevent further oral health issues and maintain a confident and healthy smile.
Need to discuss which replacement option is right for you? Call us now for an appointment at (209) 548-0100, or come by our clinic at Paragon Dental, 1108 Oakdale Road, Suite A, Modesto, California 95355, to get the dental care that you need.
At Paragon Dental, we strive to provide high-quality dental care to our patients. If you’re experiencing any dental issues, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.
Our team of experienced dentists and staff are here to help you with all your dental needs, from routine check-ups to complex procedures.
Contact us today to book your appointment and take the first step towards a healthier smile.