According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. And more than 35 million Americans have no teeth at all. The loss of a single tooth can set a course that lead to the destruction of an entire mouth. Just like two gears of a motor that are not properly aligned, overtime, things will wear down and eventually break.
Reasons to Replace Missing Teeth
These are just a few of the reasons why you should replace missing teeth:
When a tooth is lost, neighboring teeth can drift, moving into the vacant space. Other teeth will continue to drift and move. Eventually, the alignment of teeth can become significantly altered, affecting not only the appearance, but the ability to chew and speak comfortably.
Teeth help to protect gums from bacteria that cause gum disease. When a tooth is missing, it exposes a large area of gum, making it more susceptible to gum disease.
Protection of Bone
It may be hard to believe, but the teeth are very important to retaining bone structure in the jaw and face. When a tooth is missing, the bone starts to deteriorate. Without replacing the tooth, loss of bone can be so significant that neighboring teeth are affected.
Tooth Replacement Options
Dental implants are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, serving as replacements for missing teeth. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth. It helps to stabilize your jaw and does not affect healthy, surrounding teeth. Made of titanium or other materials compatible with the human body, dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth, with over a 95% success rate, needing no maintenance or additional costs.
A dental bridge is a removable appliance for replacing one or several lost teeth. As with dentures, a dental bridge can be removable (known as flipper teeth) or anchored by a dental crown or dental implant.
More natural looking and feeling than ever before, dentures or partial dentures can be used when a patient is missing several teeth. With the same look and function of natural teeth, dentures allow patients to chew, speak and smile normally.
Full dentures replace all of the upper or lower teeth and can be fixed or removable. Fixed dentures are supported by dental implants. These offer long-term benefits and require maintenance similar to natural teeth.
Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw and prevent remaining teeth from changing positions. As with full dentures, a partial denture may also be fixed or removable.