Losing a tooth as an adult can be upsetting in many ways. The first thought most people have when they’ve lost a tooth is about the cosmetic impact the tooth loss will have on their smile. A lost tooth can not only affect the appearance of your smile, but it can also cause other health concerns. Preventing tooth loss is so important for this reason, and taking excellent care of your teeth and oral health is the best way to maintain all of your teeth. If a tooth has already been lost, it is important to understand the possible solutions for replacing lost teeth and get you on your way to restoring your teeth and smiling with confidence.
What Causes Lost Teeth?
The primary causes of lost teeth are tooth decay and trauma to the face or mouth. When a tooth is lost as a result of trauma, you should see your dentist or an emergency dentist right away, as in some cases the lost tooth can be put back in place. If you wait, it is unlikely that the lost tooth can be saved. However, if a tooth is lost due to decay, proper steps must be taken to resolve the issue, in order to prevent decay from affecting the rest of your teeth.
Why is it Important to Replace Lost Teeth?
When one or more teeth are lost, taking the right steps to replace them is important. The health of your jaw bone is maintained by the teeth placing constant pressure on them, which stimulates these bones to produce new cells. When a tooth becomes lost, there is no longer the right amount of pressure and stimulation on the bone, which can lead to deterioration of the bone over time. This can also affect the appearance of the face, resulting in sunken cheeks or an appearance of older age.
Lost teeth can also cause the other teeth to move or shift, which can further affect the appearance of your smile and potentially erase years of expensive orthodontic work. This also makes the teeth more susceptible to decay, as it becomes more difficult to effectively remove food and plaque from the teeth.
When teeth are lost, an irregularity in the bite can form. This can affect one’s ability to chew, as well as their ability to speak clearly and properly. Lost teeth can actually affect one’s mental health and research has shown a link between lost teeth and experiences with anxiety or depression. Missing teeth can also affect overall self-esteem and confidence.
In some cases, missing teeth can result in chronic headaches. For others with lost teeth, nutrition becomes a concern as they may struggle to eat or chew solid healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables.
What Are the Different Treatment Options for Lost Teeth?
There are several different options when it comes to replacing lost teeth. If you are able to act quickly after the loss of a tooth due to trauma, it is possible for it to be saved. In other situations where teeth are lost, however, replacement of the tooth is necessary to prevent or minimize the negative effects of missing teeth. Having a good understanding of the different options available can help you and your dentist to make the best decisions for your smile together.
Implants are typically the most popular option for replacing lost teeth. This method involves the implantation of a titanium root into the jawbone. The replacement tooth is then attached to the root implant. Implants are incredibly effective because they simulate the pressure that a natural tooth would impose on the jaw bone and can prevent deterioration of the bone.
Removable partial dentures are a relatively simple and economical solution for replacing lost teeth. Removable partial dentures are clasped into the correct placement, which ensures that the replacement teeth are held in the appropriate spots.
A bridge is an ideal solution when there are multiple missing teeth in a row. In this case, the process of replacing each tooth with an implant can be lengthy, expensive, and unnecessary. With a bridge, the replacement teeth are secured to the natural teeth on either side.
How Can You Prevent Tooth Loss?
The best way to prevent tooth loss is by practicing an impeccable oral health routine. This includes brushing twice daily, flossing every day, and visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Preventing tooth decay, in turn, prevents the loss of teeth. It is also a good idea to wear a proper mouthguard when engaging in contact sports such as hockey or football to protect your teeth from possible trauma.
There are so many options for replacing lost teeth, that you don’t have to live with an imperfect smile, negative health effects, or decreased confidence. If you want to learn more about replacing lost teeth or how to maintain your smile, contact our Guelph dentist’s office today!