Losing teeth certainly affects the appearance of a smile. But most importantly, tooth loss can be detrimental to oral health and function. Prompt treatment is necessary to avoid the issues that can arise from losing teeth.
A dental implant is a modern approach to prosthetic care. This treatment helps those with tooth loss regain their confidence and improve their overall quality of life.
Losing Teeth: Common Causes
There are several reasons why someone may suffer from tooth loss. The two most common reasons are tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, losing teeth may be related to injuries, TMJ disorder, or other oral health issues.
To reduce the risk of tooth loss, it’s important to practice good dental care. You should also visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. In addition, it’s a good idea to wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports. If you clench or grind your teeth, ask your dentist about a custom night guard.
How Losing Teeth Can Affect Your Health Over Time
The immediate effects of tooth loss include feelings of embarrassment and frustration. While these may be the first issues you deal with, they are not the only ones likely to affect you.
Losing teeth often causes chewing difficulties, which can have a negative impact on nutrition. Over time, individuals may experience shifting, bone loss, TMJ issues, or misalignment. Some may even suffer further tooth loss. Simply stated, the sooner a missing tooth is replaced, the better.
Treatment After Losing Teeth: Enjoy Long-Term Support with Dental Implants
Losing teeth can be devastating. The good news is, there are several treatment options that can be explored.
Dental implants are considered the most successful, longest lasting teeth replacement option. They can support several types restorations, including dental crowns, dentures, and bridgework.
Dental implants actually mimic natural teeth roots. They stimulate the nerve that runs along the jaw. This helps preserve the jawbone and prevent further bone loss. Dental implants can improve basic dental functions and help you feel positive about your smile.
Benefits of Dental Implants After Losing Teeth
Compared to other treatments, dental implants offer a number of advantages for individuals who have experienced tooth loss. For example, implants are:
- Long lasting and durable
- The only teeth replacement option that preserves the jawbone
- Comfortable and life like
- Can support implant bridges
- Easily maintainable with proper oral hygiene, routine dental checkups, and cleanings
- Minimally invasive, as they do not require alteration of the adjacent teeth
What if I’m Not Eligible for Dental Implants?
There are some instances in which dental implants are not possible. For example, sometimes an individual loses too much supporting bone. This is especially true if too much time passes after losing teeth.
However, there are also ways to rebuild the bone and improve candidacy for dental implants. Bone grafting and sinus lifts can add volume and density to the jawbone and increase your chances for long term success.
If you aren’t a candidate for traditional dental implants, it’s important to explore your options. Replacing missing teeth as soon as possible gives you the best chance for long term health. Here are a few alternative treatments for losing teeth:
- Fixed dental bridge: For those missing one to three teeth in a row, a dental bridge is an excellent option. A dental bridge consists of two dental crowns with artificial teeth in between them. This treatment involves reshaping the natural teeth on either side of the gap. After removing small amounts of enamel, the dental crowns fit over the natural teeth and the artificial teeth span the gap.
- Removable denture: A partial denture replaces several teeth while a full denture replaces an entire arch of missing teeth. This appliance is removable and should be taken out and cleaned every night.
- Temporary flipper: Those who need a temporary fix after losing teeth can benefit from a flipper. A flipper looks similar to a partial denture. It is typically used to fill in spaces while undergoing bone grafting or other procedures.
- All-on-4®: Individuals who have lost a lot of bone may still be eligible for dental implants with All-on-4 treatment. This method maximizes existing bone and supports an entire fixed denture on just four implants. Patients who don’t qualify for conventional implants can benefit from All-on-4 treatment. This is an excellent way to bring health and function back to your smile.
Losing Teeth: How to Address Tooth Loss
If you have sustained the loss of one or more teeth, it’s important to explore your treatment options right away. Your dentist can determine the best course of action and give you a basic overview of recommended treatment. To learn more about dental implants and other teeth replacement options, schedule a consultation at a dental practice near you.