Missing teeth can be problematic to self-confidence and self-esteem due to compromised aesthetics. But apart from aesthetics, there are other significant reasons to replace the lost permanent teeth.
In the information provided below, we will be discussing the causes and impact of missing teeth.
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Causes of missing teeth
Everyone loses their 20 primary teeth ( also called milk teeth) as they age, and permanent successors replace these teeth. There are various factors and conditions that can lead to the loss of one or more of these permanent teeth. Some of the common causes are listed below:
Dental caries or tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth loss. If the caries is not removed in the initial stages and the tooth is not restored, it can spread rapidly and lead to irreversible damage.
The initial stage of gum disease is gingivitis, when the condition is confined to the soft tissues, and when the damage spreads to the bone, it is called periodontitis. As the disease progresses, the attachment of the teeth to the bone becomes loose, and it eventually falls off.
Direct trauma to the facial skeleton is also a common cause of missing teeth. Sports injuries and car accidents are typical examples of traumatic injuries. To preserve the vitality of the tooth, you must report to the dentist within half an hour with the tooth.
Another common cause of missing teeth is genetics. The teeth which are absent since birth are called congenitally missing teeth. There are three kinds of congenitally missing teeth:
One to five adult teeth are missing since birth after the primary teeth are shed out.
More than six teeth are missing in this type
Complete loss of all the permanent teeth is termed anodontia.
Effects of missing teeth
Apart from compromised aesthetics, there are many other reasons why replacing the missing teeth becomes essential. Some of them are listed below-
- Difficulty in chewing your food properly
- Malabsorption due to insufficient chewing
- Lower self-esteem and confidence
- Migration of adjacent teeth
- Change in the bite relationship
- Loss of the alveolar bone height and width
- Weakening of muscles of the jaw
- Supra eruption of opposing teeth
- Dental caries and gum problems of other teeth
Treatment options to replace the missing teeth
Given how important it is to replace the missing teeth, you must be wondering how we can replace them. Before replacing them, your dentist will perform a series of clinical examinations and radiographic analyses of the jawbones. The most suitable option will be planned for you based on the investigation.
There are three effective treatment options available to restore the missing teeth.
Dental implants are the latest way of replacing your missing teeth. It is a titanium post placed into your jawbones that acts as a natural tooth. In case you have many missing teeth, implant-supported dentures can be made with the help of a few implants.
The condition of the jawbone is of prime importance while planning the implants. Your dentist might perform a series of radiographic investigations, including the CT scan, to assess the bone’s status effectively.
Pros of dental implants
- Easy maintenance
- Preserves alveolar bone
- Exactly mimics the natural teeth
- It can last a lifetime and serve as a permanent solution to replacing the missing teeth.
Cons of dental implants
- Relatively costlier than its other alternatives if we look at the upfront cost
- The entire process of getting the implants done can take a few months
- Requires a minor surgical procedure for the implant placement
- Needs a healthy bone for a successful implant placement
If the support is taken from the adjacent teeth to replace the missing tooth or a couple of teeth, it is categorized as a dental bridge. Dental bridges are fixed and draw support from the natural teeth or dental implants in some cases.
Pros of dental bridges
- It blends well with natural teeth.
- Relatively cheaper than dental implants
- A fixed solution to restoring the missing teeth
- Easier to maintain than dentures
Cons of dental bridges
- It does not prevent bone loss issue
- It can be difficult sometimes to floss around
- Expensive than removable dentures
A removable denture is planned when no fixed prosthesis is possible due to the compromised health of the jawbones and/or adjacent teeth. Dentures need to be worn throughout the day and removed at night.
There are two types of dentures-
- Partial dentures-
Used to replace one or a few teeth.
- Complete dentures-
Used to replace the complete set of teeth in the upper or lower jaw
Pros of dentures
- Affordable solution
- No need for any surgery
- Can work in cases of bone loss
- It helps old age people restore the function of teeth.
Cons of dentures
- It May have to be realigned frequently.
- Might need the use of dental adhesives for proper retention
- Maintenance is time-consuming
- It does not prevent bone loss