As we grow older, tooth loss can occur due to poor oral health and other factors. But no matter the cause, losing even one tooth could mean major problems for the beauty, function, and overall health of your smile. To prevent these issues and preserve your smile, our team may recommend a dental prosthetic. In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, dentist talks about our custom dental bridges, full and partial dentures, and dental implants.
The Causes of Tooth Loss
First, let’s look at how we lose our natural teeth in the first place. For some, an untreated case of tooth decay or an infection could lead to a lost tooth, or one requiring extraction to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the smile. A lost tooth is also possible due to a sports injury or an accident. However, the most common factor is gum disease. Without treatment to manage this issue, then the disease could reach a more advanced stage known as periodontitis. At this stage, the disease actually severs the tissues connecting the teeth and gums, causing adult tooth loss. As you can see, the factors vary and the best way to help prevent lost teeth is to see us regularly for checkups and cleanings, so we can keep an eye on your smile for factors that could compromise the stability of your teeth.
The Impact on Smile Health and Function
So, now we know what causes missing teeth. But how does this impact your smile? Losing teeth leaves gaps in your smile, which could cause nearby teeth to shift, resulting in misalignment. Poor alignment not only changes smile beauty, but could also increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease as brushing and flossing thoroughly is complicated. Lost teeth also mean changes to bite balance and strain on your jaw joints, which could lead to painful disorders, like TMJ disorder or even chronic teeth griding, also known as bruxism. Trouble speaking clearly is possible, as is limits on the kinds of foods you can enjoy. Finally, the body will take note of the absent roots and in response, will limit the flow of nutrients to the jawbone, or divert it to other parts of the smile. Without regular doses of calcium and phosphorus, this could cause the bone tissues to lose mass and density. Additional missing teeth could follow, as could a prematurely aged appearance. Don’t let the health, function, and beauty of your smile suffer, talk to our team about possible treatment today!
Planning Your Tooth Replacement
When you come to us with one or more lost teeth, we will sit you down for a thorough examination. Using digital x-rays and intraoral cameras, we will gather clear images to help diagnose the cause and assess the extent of your tooth loss. This allows us to not only treat underlying oral health concerns, but also choose the right treatment option for you. We have several options available to address missing teeth, and we want to make sure you receive the one that best addresses the gaps and improves your overall quality of life.
A dental bridge is a popular option for addressing minor cases of tooth loss, such as one to three lost teeth in a row. To begin, we will numb your smile and gently remove structure from the teeth on either side of the gap in your smile. We then take detailed images and measurements with digital technology. In a dental lab setting, we use this information to design and craft the prosthetic. The bridge will be made from ceramic, a strong and durable material that we color-match to blend with your smile. The bridge will contain your new teeth, known as pontics, and also include crowns attached to each end. We place the crowns on the abutment teeth to secure your new teeth firmly in place. This option can last about 10 to 15 years on average.
Full and Partial Dentures
We also have removable dentures! Each is custom-made for your smile, and consists of lifelike ceramic teeth set into an acrylic base designed to look like gum tissue. A partial addresses multiple gaps in your smile for cases not requiring a complete prosthetic, but still too severe for a bridge. Metal clasps will help secure the prosthetic in place. A full replaces every tooth on one or both arches, and will be held in place with suction for the lower arch, or a special adhesive for the upper arch. They will need to be taken out for cleaning and soaking regularly, and will last about five to ten years on average.
Our team also has dental implants! These are small, screwlike devices that we insert into the jawbone, where they act as new roots. Being made from biocompatible titanium, the body accepts them as natural roots, which preserves the jawbone and allows implants to last far longer than other prosthetics, decades even! We can address a single missing tooth by attaching a crown to the implant, or using several implants to secure a bridge or denture that isn’t removable and can last far longer with no worries about slippage during meals or speech.
We will choose the best option for you, and help you enjoy a complete smile once again. If you have any questions about how we address tooth loss, or if you have missing teeth, then give us a call today. We would also love to see you and your family for routine checkups and cleanings too, so we can keep a close eye on your oral health!
Your Dallas, TX, Dentist Offers Prosthetic Dentistry
Don’t let missing teeth cause trouble for your smile, talk to us about a personalized and custom solution. For more information on our approach to prosthetic dentistry, then please schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson). We know how important a full smile is to your smile’s health, beauty, and function, and we want to help!