When you're missing a tooth or a few teeth, it can certainly pose a number of problems. Many patients come to our Virginia Beach cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice to learn about there treatment options for tooth loss.
Dentists have plenty of ways to address the loss of teeth. Let's cover some challenges that tooth loss poses to patients and then briefly cover some potential solutions.
If you're missing a tooth or a few teeth, the gap caused by the tooth loss can leave you feeling quite self-conscious about your smile. It may be so pronounced that you feel self-conscious about laughing, smiling, or speaking, even around people you have known for many years.
For people who are missing many teeth, this can lead to the lips and cheeks appearing hollow or sunken in, which causes major changes to the appearance and contours of the face.
When you are missing a tooth or a few teeth, it can make eating certain foods very difficult. This can lead to issues with getting proper nutrition that impact general wellness. In addition, the teeth near the tooth gap may shift out of place and become loose given the changes in the dental arch. Both gum recession and bone loss become very real concerns for long-term tooth loss.
For most people missing a tooth or two, the best option is a dental bridge. A dental bridge is an appliance that fills the gap between teeth with custom-crafted artificial teeth. They are held in place by latching around the teeth adjacent to the tooth gap.
For a fixed and far more stable version of a dental bridge, there are crown-supported dental bridges. Rather than bracing or latching around the teeth adjacent to the tooth gap, the bridge is outfitted with dental crowns on either side that cap the teeth adjacent to the tooth gap. This fixed position means a far sturdier bridge that is less likely to slip out of place or fall out.
When a person is missing too many teeth, a dental bridge may not be the ideal option for care any longer. In those cases, the use of dentures is better. A denture is a dental appliance that replaces missing teeth by bracing around the gum tissue and jawbone structure of the tooth gap. The denture is made so it is secure around that portion of the dental arch. Dental adhesives and creams can be used to improve overall stability.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically embedded into the jawbone and gum tissue. These implants are able to hold dental bridges, dentures, and even individual dental crowns in place with great stability. They are, in essence, new tooth roots. These appliances held by dental implants will not fall out or slip. In addition, the dental implants will prevent bone loss and gum recession from occurring, which no other option listed above can do.
Ideal candidates for dental implants should be people who have sufficient jawbone and gum tissue in place to support the implants. They should be in good overall health so that the oral surgery required to place the implants does not pose any sort of risk to overall wellness. Since there is a lengthy healing process and additional cost, patients need to have realistic expectations about the process and what it can achieve.
To learn more about your treatment options for tooth loss and how we can help you smile with renewed confidence, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our team will work closely with you the enhance your dental health and wellness.