Like other common dental problems, missing teeth can cause serious complications over time if left untreated. Therefore, it is important that individuals missing one or more teeth seek treatment as soon as possible. Several treatment options are available to restore both beauty and functionality to the mouth.
Common Causes of Tooth Loss
There are many reasons a person might be missing teeth. The most common is tooth decay, which is related to gingivitis. Teeth that are not properly cared for decay over time. if left untreated, these teeth can become loose and fall out. The best way to prevent tooth loss is to brush and floss regularly, and to visit the dentist for periodic cleanings and checkups so decay can be detected and treated before tooth loss occurs. Missing teeth may also be linked to other oral diseases, including periodontal (gum) disease. Conditions such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can also cause tooth loss as undue strain is placed on the teeth and supporting structures.
In some cases, tooth loss is caused by injuries to either the tooth itself or to the surrounding tissues, including the gums and jaws. These injuries are particularly common among those participating in sports, which is why it is so imortant to wear appropriate safety gear such as mouth and face guards.
Effects of Tooth Loss
Immediately after tooth loss, many people experience tooth pain or sensitivity. However, even in cases of tooth loss where pain is not a problem, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Tooth loss can cause immediate problems with eating, speech, and other basic activities that may worsen with time. Eventually, the remaining teeth in the jaw shift in an attempt to fill in the gap left by a missing tooth. The resulting crooked teeth can cause serious bite problems that require orthodontics to correct. Further, because each tooth is supported by those around it, missing teeth can weaken the overall structure of the mouth, causing additional tooth loss or injury that may worsen with time.
Replacing Missing Teeth
There are many options available to replace missing teeth. The most permanent treatments are dental implants and implant-supported dental bridges. A qualified oral surgeon can implant titanium screws into the jaw that act as artifical tooth roots, providing optimum long-term strength and stability for false teeth. This technique is so effective that many patients who choose an implant dentistry option report that their false teeth are indistinguishable in both appearance and function from their natural teeth. Dentures and dental bridges are typically the best non-surgical treatment option. Bridges are permanently attached to dental crowns to close the gaps left by missing teeth, while dentures are removable restorations that replace missing teeth.
Locate a Dental Professional near You
If you are missing one or more teeth, it is vital that you see a dentist as soon as possible to discuss your options for treatment. Use the national dentistry database on DocShop today to locate a qualified dental professional in your area. A qualified dentist can determine which tooth replacement treatment will best suit your needs.