Unfortunately, the average American between the ages of 35 and 49 is missing several teeth. Although it’s possible that up to four wisdom teeth are included in this estimation, the statistic nonetheless indicates that these individuals are living without at least three natural teeth. It also means that there is a good chance that you have lost teeth or will experience tooth loss in the future. Therefore, it’s also likely that you’ll need to replace or restore those missing teeth.
Negative Effects of Tooth Loss
When you lose teeth without replacing them in a timely manner, there are multiple negative consequences that can occur. There may be immediate chewing and speaking difficulties, depending on how many teeth were lost. In addition, your face can take on a sunken appearance, resulting in a much older look than your true age.
As more time passes, the adjacent teeth may begin to tilt and shift toward any empty spaces, causing a misaligned bite. Eventually, you can experience gum tissue loss and bone loss in your jawbone due to a lack of stimulation from tooth roots. Tooth loss is also associated with gum disease in the affected area(s). These consequences of tooth loss make it clear how important it is to replace missing teeth as soon as possible.
Benefits of Tooth Replacement
The negative effects of tooth loss are easily preventable with timely restorative treatment. Undergoing a tooth replacement procedure will avoid challenges with eating and speaking, as well as help you maintain healthy gums and bone tissue. There are three main types of tooth replacement options.
- Dental Implant(s) to support an implanted-supported dental bridge, implant-supported crown, or implant-supported full arch (aka overdenture)
- Tooth-Supported Dental Bridge
- Crown (aka Cap)
What Is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants serve as replacements for tooth roots. They are made from inert titanium and are inserted into your jawbone to firmly stabilize an overdenture, implant-supported dental bridge, or implant-supported tooth crown. Although this is a significant investment in your health, it is often the best treatment solution for missing teeth due to the longevity of implants and their reliable support. Because of these characteristics of implants, they are very cost-effective in the long run.
This procedure can be performed to replace a single tooth with an implant-supported tooth crown, multiple teeth with a dental bridge, or an entire arch of teeth with an overdenture. Patients with significant bone loss are not usually good candidates for a tooth implant until they’ve undergone a bone grafting procedure.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
In contrast to an implant-supported dental bridge, we can also replace missing teeth with a tooth-supported dental bridge. This is a common alternative to implant-supported restorations. A dental bridge is fitted onto the teeth that are adjacent to the one missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. This procedure is straightforward and typically takes two to three weeks from start to finish. It’s also less expensive than an implant procedure since it’s less complex. However, it’s more expensive than a removable denture.
On the downside, a tooth-supported bridge doesn’t provide the stimulation to your jawbone that dental implants do and is not as long-lasting. This treatment option is best for patients who want a quick, cost-effective restoration procedure or who are not suited for dental implants.
What Is a Tooth Crown?
Before going into a crown procedure, it’s important to clarify some terminology. The terms “crown” and “cap” are used interchangeably, with “cap” simply being an older term for the same restoration. A crown that is not implant-supported actually restores a tooth that has been damaged due to trauma or severe decay. It is placed over an unhealthy tooth once it’s prepped to receive a crown. The tooth can be prepared by simply removing the decay or with a root canal procedure. This is the most affordable of these restoration procedures and is ideal when the tooth root is salvageable but is not an option when they are not.
Tooth loss is a condition that needs timely treatment to avoid more serious oral health issues in the future. The best solution is to quickly find the dentist near your area or a dental provider you already trust and go to that has CEREC same day service.