Tooth loss in children is a time of magical fairies and hopes for a token. Tooth loss in adults is frustration and a cause for worry. We understand how frustrating missing teeth can be. Losing a tooth can force changes to your diet, how you chew, or even how you feel about your look. Whether you have lost a tooth due to disease, decay or trauma, our team at Madison Oral Surgery & Dental Implants can help.
There are multiple reasons a tooth can be lost - whatever the reason restoration is key. Oftentimes a patient will ask us if the loss of a tooth is really problematic. After all orthodontists often choose to remove a tooth to alleviate overcrowding. The difference between tooth loss and a dental professional removing a tooth is a plan. When a tooth is a planned removal, there is often a controlled step following, whether it is braces, a retainer or more. Losing a tooth is an unplanned event, without a controlled plan in place.
Why Should I Replace a Missing Tooth?
Sometimes, missing one tooth doesn’t seem like a big deal to a patient, but it can be. When you lose a tooth there are some effects that will occur immediately, and some that will continue to become problematic with time. Changes including:
|Bone Changes: The first reaction to a missing tooth is changes to the bone that once supported it. The bone will immediately respond with atrophy, decreasing the amount of bone in that spot because the bone recognizes that it is no longer being stimulated so it removes its resources. The best place to see this reaction is when removing a cast from a person's arm or leg. In just that short amount of healing time, there is an observable difference in the size of the body part that had a cast. With time, your facial shape can change, giving what we have come to know as an older appearance. Osseointegration occurs naturally to restore bones but without teeth or implants, this process can slow down or completely stop which will cause issues with bone mass.
|Positioning Changes: An open space from a missing tooth means room for teeth to roam. Neighboring teeth have room to shift from their position to fill the empty position. This can cause changes to your jaw joint and how it opens and closes. In some cases the patient can develop TMJ dysfunction which can be problematic. Jaw hinge issues can cause joint problems, pain in your brow, ear or even cause migraines.
|Chewing Changes: The change may be subtle or you may not even be aware that you are doing it, but most often when a patient is missing a tooth, they will predominantly chew on the other side of their mouth. This may seem like a simple solution but it is causing uneven wear on your teeth and can lead to bigger issues. Proper chewing is chewing your food in a balanced way using both sides of your mouth while you chew.
You will want to replace a missing tooth, even if it’s just one.
What Are My Options When I’ve Lost a Tooth?
In most cases, replacing the tooth is the best option. How you replace the tooth can come with options. Dental prosthetics are a great option for replacing teeth, as they can look and feel natural. In most cases, no one will ever know that you have a restored tooth. Dental prosthetics include dental implants, crowns, bridges, partial dentures and full dentures.
How you have the tooth placed has options too. We can discuss retention options including using neighboring teeth for retention or having a dental implant surgically placed into the bone for a firm post to use for retention. A tooth implant provides our patients with a long term restoration that not only looks natural but feels natural too.
To learn more about the differences between implants vs bridges and dentures give us a call!