Reviewed by Dr. Kerri Font, DDS
If you have a missing tooth, it might be tempting to just leave it as is and not replace it. However, this decision can have long-term consequences on your oral health and overall wellbeing.
Replacing a missing tooth is not just about aesthetics. It also affects the functionality of your mouth, and in turn, your ability to eat, speak and smile with confidence.
In this blog post, we will explain what happens if you don’t replace a missing tooth. We will also discuss the most common tooth replacement options to help you make an informed decision.
Table of Contents
- Why Replace a Missing Tooth
- Tooth Replacement Options
- Benefits of a Dental Implant
- Dental Implants Highlands Ranch
Failing to replace a missing tooth can lead to severe oral health complications such as bone loss, shifting of neighboring teeth, and increased risk of gum disease. Dental implants are the most effective and long-lasting solution for tooth replacement, providing a natural look and feel while preserving jaw bone and facial structure.
Why Replace a Missing Tooth
A missing tooth may seem like a minor inconvenience, but the reality is that neglecting to replace it can lead to several issues. Here are a few reasons why you should consider replacing a missing tooth.
When you lose a tooth, the jaw bone that once anchored it no longer receives the necessary stimulation and eventually begins to resorb or shrink. Over time, this could weaken the strength and stability of the jaw and impact your facial structure.
Shifting of Neighboring Teeth
The gap that is left when you lose a tooth can lead to misalignment and bite problems. This can lead to difficulties with eating and speaking. When teeth shift, it can increase the risk of developing TMJ which causes jaw pain, headaches and other symptoms.
Gum Disease and Other Oral Health Problems
Without a tooth occupying the gap, the gums that used to surround the tooth will start to recede. This can create pockets where bacteria can accumulate, leading to gum disease and other oral health problems.
Tooth Replacement Options
There are three popular options for tooth replacement: dental implants, dental bridges, and partial dentures.
A dental bridge is a common solution for tooth replacement. Essentially a false tooth, a bridge is anchored by the teeth on either side of the gap.
These teeth, known as abutment teeth, act as supports for the bridge, which is custom-made to match the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth.
The downside of a dental bridge is that it requires the removal of healthy tooth structure on the abutment teeth to support the bridge, and it does not prevent bone loss.
Partial dentures are another viable option for replacing a missing tooth. They consist of one or more artificial teeth held in place by clasps that fit onto nearby natural teeth. You can take them out and clean them for optimal hygiene.
Partial dentures are less invasive and usually cheaper than dental implants or bridges. However, they may not feel as stable or comfortable as the other options.
The downside of a partial denture is that it can lead to increased plaque buildup around supporting teeth, which can put you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Dental implants are the most permanent and functional solution for replacing a missing tooth. They involve surgically placing a metal post into the jawbone, which acts as an artificial tooth root.
Once the post has fused with the bone, a custom-made crown is placed on top to serve as a natural-looking replacement tooth. Implants not only prevent bone loss but also provide the same strength and stability as a natural tooth.
Benefits of a Dental Implant
Dental implants stand out as the most effective choice for tooth replacement for several reasons.
- Natural look and feel: Dental implants closely resemble your real teeth in terms of appearance and function. They offer a stable, permanent solution that restores your smile and allows you to enjoy a broad range of food with confidence.
- Preservation of jaw bone and facial structure: A dental implant replaces not just the visible tooth but also its root, providing the necessary stimulation to keep your jaw bone healthy. As a result, dental implants help prevent bone loss and maintain your facial structure.
- Long-term solution: While dental bridges and partial dentures might need adjustments and replacements as the years go by, dental implants provide a more long-term solution. With proper care, dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime.
- Protection of adjacent teeth: Unlike dental bridges, which rely on neighboring teeth for support, dental implants stand on their own. This means that there’s no need to alter the structure of your remaining teeth, preserving their integrity.
Dental Implants Highlands Ranch
If you have been considering dental implants as an option for replacing a missing tooth, our skilled periodontists, Dr. Mike Norouzinia, DDS, and Dr. Kerri Font,DDS, can help you determine if they are the right choice for you.
At Highlands Ranch Periodontics & Implant Center, we specialize in dental implant procedures and are dedicated to helping our patients achieve a healthy, confident smile.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to replace a missing tooth. Schedule your consultation today! Remember, taking care of one missing tooth now can save you from future oral health complications. So don’t delay – prioritize your oral health and book a consultation today!
If you are searching for a ‘dental implant periodontist near me’ or ‘dental implants near me’, we can help. Call (303) 683-1144 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.