Tooth loss has serious consequences. Our goal as dental health care professionals is to restore a patient’s mouth before these consequences occur. Restoration includes restoring function, aesthetics, speech, comfort, and maintaining health. When a tooth (or teeth) is lost, several things happen. Chewing function changes, speech is affected; aesthetics change, teeth shift, and bone levels drop over time. The level of the bone in our mouths is dependent upon having teeth. When teeth are missing the body begins to resorb the bone that was once there. Let’s take a look at how bone levels change.
Until just recently we could address function, speech, aesthetics, and shifting but with the addition of dental implants in modern dentistry, we can now address bone loss as well. Options to replace missing teeth include three different options.
Our first and most popular solution for tooth replacement is implant dentistry. An implant is a titanium post that infuses into the bone providing an anchor for a replacement tooth. An implant addresses aesthetics, function, tooth movement, and prevention of bone loss.
Our next option is a fixed bridge. A bridge is custom-made in a dental lab and once complete is a permanently cemented fixture. It is cemented to the adjacent teeth. This option requires the adjacent teeth to be ground down in order to support the bridge. This option addresses aesthetics, functions, and tooth movement. It does not address bone loss.
And finally, dentures are our last option. They are also the least desirable option. Dentures are not permanently cemented into place but they will address the aesthetics, function, and tooth movement concerns.
We, of course, want to prevent tooth loss from happening in the first place and that is done by maintaining a healthy diet, good oral hygiene habits, and routine dental checkups. But, if tooth extraction does occur, WE CAN HELP!
Until next time,
Keep smiling, caring, and sharing!