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Missing a Tooth? Here’s Why You Should Replace Immediately

Almost everyone will lose a tooth or more during their adult lifetime, with tooth loss in adults typically occurring due to tooth decay or trauma from an accident. For obvious reasons, most of us prefer to avoid having a gap in the front teeth, though less concern is generally paid to teeth that are missing towards the rear because those gaps are much less visible. 

Food can be bitten and chewed by any teeth and nobody besides your dentist will even notice there’s a gap at the rear so what’s the point of undergoing treatment for a replacement? Well, there are some reasons that replacing missing teeth, even at the back of the mouth, is a very important thing to do. 

Aesthetics

The most obvious of those reasons is aesthetics. If the gap is visible whenever we smile, it can be embarrassing. When there are a few teeth missing and even though it’s less visible, it can still impact your appearance. The teeth support the cheeks so if teeth are missing at the rear or side of the mouth, in that area the cheek will appear to be sunk. 

Similarly, if a tooth is lost, the bone mass where the lost tooth belonged will be reduced. This can cause a facial shape change, albeit sometimes it’s merely a small change. 

Function

If there’s a missing tooth towards the rear of the mouth it might not be visible but there may be an impact on some of your remaining teeth. This can, after some time, impact your smile. An example of this, as previously mentioned, is that whenever a tooth is lost, the supporting bone in the jaw no longer has any use because there is no tooth to support. 

In accordance, our bodies are attuned to this and as such, the minerals that were previously used to build the bone in this particular area are utilised elsewhere in the body.

So, there’s the ‘sunken teeth syndrome’ to think about. But also, because there’s a lack of bone and a gap, the teeth that surround the space will probably shift and can then encroach in this area. 

Naturally, when teeth move like this, they can leave a gap and other teeth will move into this gap, similar to a slow domino effect. What occurs is that over time you’ll be left with a crooked smile. To correct this, you will require orthodontic treatment later on.

Whenever a tooth is lost, we naturally begin to use other teeth to carry out the same role. Over time, that can have a damaging effect on the other teeth. As an example, the teeth at the very rear of the mouth are designed to chew and grind food. If one or more of these teeth are lost and the teeth in front are then used to carry out the same job, this extra strain can result in premature wearing and possibly also breakage. 

If you do have missing teeth, what options are available at St. Helier Dental?

Missing Tooth Treatments

Dentures

For many years, dentures have been the go-to method used in replacing missing teeth. Over the years, large improvements have been made to design. But in spite of that, there are some drawbacks. For some people, dentures tend to move around a bit inside their mouths, causing sore, irritated gums, and dentures can also have a small impact on speech. 

Additionally, dentures, like bridges, are suitable to only replace the crown of the tooth and not the whole tooth – dentures (and bridges) are devoid of the root. 

Dental Bridge

There’s more stability offered by a dental bridge than with dentures and even eating is easier. However, similar to dentures, a bridge will require intricate cleaning, particularly so below the bridge where food can and often becomes trapped. As mentioned above, a bridge can only replace the crown of the tooth, not the root as well.

Dental Implants

Unlike dentures and bridges, dental implants provide a replacement for the entire tooth, inclusive of the root. The root part is, in fact, a titanium rod that is screwed or tapped into position. The titanium rod offers a particularly secure root for the crown attachment. Implants are also easy to keep clean simply by brushing and flossing as you’d do with natural teeth. Implants are long-lasting, and when they are well cared for they can last for twenty years and often even longer. 

 

If you are suffering from a missing tooth and you’d welcome the opportunity to discuss the options available to you in more detail, we are more than happy to set up an initial consultation. 

To book your consultation with us at St. Helier Dental, simply give us a call on 020 8648 2600.

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