Replacement of Missing Teeth

Missing teeth are not merely a cosmetic concern, because they can also severely influence your daily life. A tooth loss condition is really more serious than it is often perceived to be.

Lost teeth affect not only oral health but also general health, as well as appearance and self-esteem. Each tooth plays a vital role in the structure of the mouth, and in relationship to the remaining teeth. The way our teeth are normally arranged, helps to facilitate effective chewing, biting and talking.

Teeth are lost or missing for several reasons, such as trauma, decay, gum disease, or even genetics.

Tooth loss can negatively affect a person’s social and professional life; it can lead to reduced self-confidence because of the gaps in a  smile.

Missing teeth can affect the way you speak, depending on  the location of the gaps. The loss of one or more teeth can disturb the distribution of bite pressure onto other teeth, resulting in a decrease in chewing efficiency. Your remaining teeth will struggle to retain their normal function due to the imbalance in chewing forces, which can lead to overcompensation by the surrounding teeth, and result in inordinate stress and wear.

When you lose a tooth or have a tooth extraction, the bone surrounding the tooth soon begins to weaken, and the surrounding teeth begin to shift to fill in the space, leaving more spaces and gaps.

Also, when a tooth is missing, there is no contact with the opposing arch. This can cause opposing teeth to gradually extrude which leads to other problems, such as fractures, mobility, or tooth loss. Tooth loss can also cause infections, affecting the gum tissues and the underlying bone. In advanced cases, it can also lead to progressive bone loss and receding gums.

Therefore, leaving the gap  where a tooth once was can be a source of embarrassment as well as have serious consequences.

So it is very important to replace  a missing tooth to prevent the other teeth from shifting. Also replacing the missing back teeth can affect the overall bite, and help ease some of the excessive pressure on the front teeth created by chewing.

If the tooth is not replaced soon, the loss of jawbone can cause other teeth to fall out, further detracting from a healthy smile.

There is more than one option for replacing missing teeth. The 3 most common options are replacing the missing teeth with implants, crowns,  bridges or dentures. Sometimes a combination of two of these options can be used, such as a denture that is supported by implants, or a bridge that is supported by implants.

And just as importantly, they can also help teeth to even out the bite forces of the remaining teeth, and protect their existing teeth structure to last for a long lifetime.

Not to mention that by saving one tooth, you are also helping to keep the surrounding ones healthy as well.

Did You Know, Not Replacing A Single Missing Tooth Can Lead To The Loss Of All Your Teeth?

When a person does not replace a missing tooth for a long time, a chain of events starts. Such as over-eruption of the opposite tooth which is now useless, as it does not have an opposing tooth. Tilt of the adjacent teeth leading to drift of adjacent teeth (as teeth tend to move where they get space) as well as gum pockets, decay and bone loss. Over a period of time, this series of events can lead to the loss of all your teeth.

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Crowns And Bridges (All-Ceramic Metal Free Crowns, Porcelain Fused To Metal Crowns, Gold Crowns)

All Ceramic Metal-Free Crowns

These crowns are ideally suited to people who prefer a natural appearance, as they are the most cosmetically pleasing crowns.

The biggest advantage of placing an all-ceramic crown, instead of other types, has to do with appearance, as it has superior aesthetics.

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Dentures: Partial (FLEXIBLE) and Complete

Conventional dentures have been used for a long time, though the upper jaw dentures are more satisfactory to the patient compared to the lower ones, therefore for lower jaws, implant supported dentures are recommended.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best option of replacing a missing tooth?

A Dental implant is the best option to replace a missing tooth. This is because this replacement is the closet to the natural tooth. The biting power is 95% of the natural tooth. The look and feel is also very close to a natural tooth. This replacement is the only one in which the underline jaw bone is preserved and does not get resorbed. It is also very conservative and does not involve any adjacent teeth. Dental Implant can be used for a single missing tooth, multiple missing teeth, if all the teeth are missing in the mouth.

What are the various options for replacing a missing tooth/teeth?

The other options of replacing missing teeth are:

  • Dental Implants
  • Crowns and Bridges
  • Removable Partial Denture
  • Complete Denture

What happens if you do not replace a missing tooth?

Teeth tend to move wherever they get space. If a missing tooth is not replaced, the adjacent teeth start to shift/ migrate in this empty space. The tooth from the opposing arch/jaw starts to supra erupt into this empty space. This results in creating new gaps in your teeth. Thus the integrity of the entire compliment of the teeth gets disrupted. The underlying bone in the area of the missing teeth also starts to resorb.

How long do dental crowns/bridges last?

Generally, a dental crown/bridge can last anytime between 5 to 15 years. Their life span depends on:

  • Expertise of the dentist.
  • The quality of the material of the crown.
  • The quality of laboratory used for its fabrication.
  • The amount of wear and tear the crown takes
  • How well you maintain your oral hygiene.
  • Your personal habits like grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using the crowns to open packaging of chips, cans, holding pins etc.

Can you get a cavity under a crown?

Usually a cavity does not appear under the crown. The only reason a cavity start under the crown is when the crown is not prepare properly. Whenever there is a gap between the margin of the crown and the underline tooth, food or saliva can penetrate inside and lead to a cavity/decay. If tooth decay happens under the crown, then the dentist will have to remove the crown, fill up the cavity and fix a new crown on that tooth.

Here are a few signs that may indicate you have tooth decay under your crown:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot, cold or pressure.
  • Pain or toothaches.
  • Swollen, inflamed gums.
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing.

Does a crowned tooth require special care?

A crowned tooth does not require any special care. However it must be kept in mind that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the tooth is forever protected from decay or a gum disease. Hence you should continue to follow good oral hygiene practices which include brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day. Also you must rinse your mouth with water soon after you eat or drink anything. 6 monthly check-ups with the dentist and a yearly professional cleaning is important.