Humans only get one set of adult teeth, which means that when we lose them, they are gone for good.
There are a number of common ways to lose adult teeth, but the good news is that dental professionals have created options for those with missing teeth. With their help, you can restore your smile and your bite.
What causes missing teeth?
In younger adults, one of the most common causes of missing teeth is trauma. Accidents on the sports field, car crashes, and even simply tripping over at home can cause a tooth to get knocked out.
For older adults, tooth decay and gum disease are common causes of missing teeth. Years of poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth loss, and it can often include more than one tooth.
Aside from the potential loss of confidence in your smile, missing teeth can be a health concern. That’s because your remaining teeth can shift out of place, and they may wear down more quickly since there are fewer teeth chewing the same amount of food.
That’s why dentists will recommend looking at your options for tooth replacement.
Option one: Dental bridges
Dental bridges are a great option for replacing teeth. They work by creating a ‘bridge’ between your remaining natural teeth.
Your dentist will affix a dental crown on your natural teeth on either side of the gap, which will attach to one or several false teeth that will fill the gap. These false teeth look and feel quite natural, so you will be able to eat, drink, and talk normally as soon as they are in place.
If you do not have teeth on both sides of the gap, it’s also possible to have a ‘cantilever’ style bridge. This uses just one natural tooth as an anchor on one side, and can replace one tooth.
Dental bridges are a relatively affordable option for tooth replacement, and there’s no surgery required, so they are quite a popular choice. With good care, they are expected to last 10 years or so.
Option two: Dental implants
Dental implants are also an excellent tooth replacement option.
This option best mimics your original natural tooth, as it implants a false tooth into your jawbone. This means that the false tooth will look, feel, and act just like a natural tooth. With good care, it can last 20 years or more.
The process of getting a dental implant is slower than that of getting bridges. The first step is to ensure that you are a good candidate for an implant, as you need good oral health to ensure the implant will take. Next, your dentist will do minor surgery to insert the implant in your jaw, then you will need to wait for approximately three months as the site heals fully. Only then can they complete the next steps of adding an abutment and a dental crown to complete the implant.
You can get as many implants as you need to replace missing teeth, provided you have good oral health. If your jawbone or oral health isn’t fit for an implant, your dentist may be able to advise you of options to improve the situation and help you become a candidate for the treatment.
If you have missing teeth and would like to learn more about dental bridges and dental implants, or would like help deciding which option is best for your smile, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at Northcote Dental today.