Why is it important to replace missing teeth?

There is a difference between natural tooth loss during childhood and adult tooth loss. Childhood tooth loss, unless tooth is lost to an injury, is a natural process when the body is growing new teeth. Dr. Perry Patel, the Pismo Beach dentist, believes it is important for people to understand the differences between natural childhood tooth loss, and tooth loss during adulthood.

About 70-percent of the United States adult populations is missing one or more teeth. Adult teeth are lost for many reasons such as decay, periodontal disease, an accident or injury to the mouth, and sometimes even genetics.

Our teeth help us bite and chew food, to speak clearly and have a great smile. Teeth are also important to the structure of the mouth and relationship of the teeth in the mouth. It is important for adults to replace missing teeth because when a tooth is missing, there is no contact with the opposing teeth. This can cause:

  • A misaligned bite leading to pain from temporomandibular disorder (TMJ)
  • Shifting of surrounding teeth
  • Fractures in surrounding teeth
  • Bone loss
  • More tooth loss
  • Gum problems that are associated with a number of health conditions
  • Increased self-consciousness and reduced self-confidence

There is no substitute for good dental health and dental care practices, including regular checkups. But, accidents happen. Sports injuries or accidents can damage that results in teeth needing to be removed and replaced. Sometimes, the results of trauma to the mouth may not become apparent for years and by the time symptoms appear it is too late to save teeth. As a caution, always schedule a dentist appointment as soon as possible after any trauma to the mouth or head.

In rare cases, people suffer from a congenital disorder called anodontia, described by the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD) a genetic disorder defined as the absence of teeth.

There are several options available for replacing missing teeth. Pismo Beach dentist, Dr. Patel, is trained and experienced in the procedures to help keep that bright and healthy smile. Options for replacing lost teeth include:

  • Implants
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Dentures

Implants

The implant itself is a small titanium post, fixed into the bone socket of missing teeth. The jawbone grows back around the implant, holding it firmly in the jaw, and the implant is fitted with the new tooth. Implants are as secure as natural teeth and reduce bone loss that can occur from dentures or bridges.

Crowns

A crown is a prosthetic restoration of a damaged tooth. The damaged portion of a tooth is removed and a replica of the original tooth is created and fitted over the restored portion of the original tooth. Crowns replace the outer part, or the crown, of the natural tooth, and typically sit above the gum line, but may extend onto the root surface.

Bridges

Bridges are artificial teeth that replace adjoining missing teeth, or “bridge” the space left open by missing teeth. Bridges are anchored to existing natural teeth, but may also be anchored to implants. When the bridge is anchored to natural teeth, those teeth need special procedures to prepare them to receive the bridge.

Dentures

Dentures are an option when someone has lost all or most of their teeth. A thorough examination and consultation with your dentist informs you about dentures and the pros and cons to other teeth replacement options.

Getting the right answers

It is important to get the best advice when considering tooth replacement. Your Pismo Beach dentist, Dr. Patel, uses examinations, dental imaging and study models to analyze your oral health and needs. Dr. Patel applies all of today’s dental science and technology at his disposal to improve and maintain your oral health and help you keep that sparkling smile. Call today for your appointment.