Millions of American adults are missing at least one tooth — roughly 36 million, in fact. But just because missing teeth are common, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to deal with — or that they don’t make you feel self-conscious about your appearance.
Fortunately, today, you have more options than ever when it comes to replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile and bite mechanics. Our team at The Glen Dental offers several solutions based on each patient’s anatomy, oral health, and other factors. Here’s what we want you to know about missing teeth and their treatment.
Missing teeth: Not just cosmetic
Many people lose teeth due to gum disease, the top cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. Deep decay and traumatic injuries are two other relatively common causes of tooth loss. No matter what caused you to lose one or more teeth, the impact is similar: a change in the way your mouth looks and works.
Even a single missing tooth can alter your bite balance, increasing the risk of tooth decay, infections, and even additional tooth loss in the future. A shift in your bite balance can also lead to increased pressure on your jaw joints, leading to chronic jaw and facial pain, along with a chronic medical problem called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Missing teeth can lead to difficulties with speech and chewing, and they can also change your overall facial shape, creating uneven contours on the side of your face that’s missing those teeth. All these effects typically lead to changes in how you feel about your appearance and your overall wellness, too.
Replacing missing teeth
Fortunately, replacing one or several missing teeth is a much simpler prospect than it used to be. In fact, our team at The Glen Dental offers several options for replacing missing teeth.
Dentures are a traditional choice for replacing teeth. There are two types of dentures: complete (or full) dentures that replace an entire arch (uppers or lowers) and partial dentures that replace just one or a few teeth.
Dentures can take some time to get used to, and they do come with some downsides, like the possibility of slippage or sore spots caused by a poor fit. Using adhesives and coming in for adjustments when you have your regular dental checkups can help avoid those issues. Some patients secure their dentures using four or six dental implants to help them stay put and feel more natural.
A dental bridge includes one or more artificial teeth (crowns) mounted to a bracket that secures to the teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing tooth (or teeth). Typically, those teeth need to be fitted with crowns to strengthen them and prevent damage.
Bridges can be either removable (attached with clips) or permanent (attached with adhesives). Bridges can’t be used for back molars because they require a healthy tooth on either side for secure attachment.
Dental implants have soared in popularity in recent years as more and more people recognize and embrace their benefits. Implants comprise three components: a post that’s embedded in your jaw, a crown (or artificial tooth), and a piece called an abutment that joins the post and crown.
Because they’re implanted into your jaw bone, dental implants are very secure, very comfortable, and designed to look, feel, and work just like a natural tooth. They also act like a natural tooth root by stimulating the bone replacement cycle in your jaw, preventing jaw thinning and the tooth loss it can cause.
Feel confident about your smile
Don’t let missing teeth make you feel self-conscious, older, or less attractive. At The Glen Dental, you have lots of options for replacing missing teeth and restoring your beautiful smile. To learn more about tooth replacement at our San Jose, California, practice, call 408-816-1008 or book an appointment online today.