People can lose teeth due to a number of reasons. Whether it was because of an extraction, dental emergency, or something else entirely, it happens. Fortunately, our Shelby Township dentists offer several options to choose from for a restored smile.
Here’s what you need to know about the risks associated with missing teeth and what you can do to fill in any gaps.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Replace Teeth
Missing teeth can lead to several unwanted consequences if not dealt with.
For one, gaps can open more surface area on adjacent teeth for sugar and bacteria to decay those teeth. Because of this, patients are more likely to develop cavities or gum disease in areas where they didn’t replace a tooth.
You may feel less confident due to an incomplete smile, have trouble speaking correctly, and have more difficulty eating your favorite foods. All of these reasons and more detail just how important it is to replace lost teeth.
If you’ve found yourself in this type of situation, our experienced dentists can talk with you to figure out which of our tooth replacement services is best for you depending on your oral health.
1. Dental Implants
A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root made of titanium that is used to anchor a crown. This option has a lot of benefits as listed below.
Dental implants prevent bone loss by fusing with your jawbone through a process known as osseointegration which can take up to 6 months to fully complete. Your body recognizes the titanium tooth root and therefore doesn’t take away the minerals and nutrients from your jawbone.
Unlike dentures,don’t slip or move around so you can have peace of mind that you won’t feel the need to adjust them during a conversation. They also have an advantage over dental bridges as they don’t require the removal of natural enamel from surrounding teeth.
Dental implants can last anywhere from about 20 years to the rest of your life depending on the quality of care you give them, your bone density, and the condition of your oral health. They look and function exactly like a normal tooth, plus they require no unique maintenance, simply brush at least twice daily and floss once daily.
Dental implants tend to be more expensive than other tooth replacement options. However, you may not qualify for dental implants if you don’t have good enough oral health or bone density. Also, the crown of the implant may need to be repaired if you experience facial trauma or excessive decay.
Simply put, dentures are a prosthetic replacement for missing teeth. They fit over your gums and can be removed to clean them. Dentures do need to be kept moist at all times, even when they’re not in use. Otherwise they will dry out, crack, and warp.
While all tooth replacements help you eat and speak better, dentures are great when multiple missing teeth have been lost. For example, they could fill in an entire arch of teeth or just a few consecutive ones.
One of the most common complaints about dentures is they can slip and move around in your mouth. However this isn’t the case withwhich our dentists are proud to offer. Unlike regular and implant-supported dentures, these can only be removed by a dentist.
While not a major inconvenience, dentures do need to be removed and cleaned carefully to remove leftover food debris. Dentures also need to be placed in water or a denture cleanser overnight while you’re sleeping so they don’t dry out.
Dentures don’t prevent bone loss unless they’re supported by dental implants (as fixed hybrid dentures are). If they’re not, over the course of 10 to 20 years this will lead to facial collapse, deterioration of the jawbone. This can make someone appear older and make their face look more wrinkled.
3. Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are a single prosthetic tooth that is anchored in place by two crowns on both of the immediately adjacent teeth.
Dental bridges are more economical than dental implants. Unlike dentures, they’re good for single tooth replacement. Dental bridges don’t fix misaligned teeth, but because they fill in the gap, they will prevent your teeth from leaning into what was formerly the empty space caused by your missing tooth.
Some enamel will have to be removed off of the two adjacent teeth to fit the dental crowns that hold the prosthetic tooth in place. While losing enamel is never good, the teeth will have the extra layer of protection in the crown. Also, dental bridges don’t prevent jawbone loss, only dental implants and certain types of dentures do.
Request an Appointment
Our dentists in Shelby Charter Township, MI, can help you determine which tooth replacement option is right for you. To request an appointment, call the office of Jeffrey T. Baker DDS PC at (586) 992-9222. We’d be more than happy to help you find the right treatment option for your smile.
This blog post has been updated.