Replacing a missing tooth or set of teeth is important not just to your oral health, but for your overall health as well. There are many reasons why people might experience missing teeth, and it’s not just because of poor oral hygiene. Ridgetop Dental is a respected practice in Sterling, VA specializing in restoring patients’ healthy smiles. Learn more about missing teeth and different options for how to replace them.
Consequences of Missing Teeth
Missing teeth, and having gaps in your smile, can pose risks to your overall health. In addition to the cosmetic concerns of having missing teeth, they can also put you at greater risk of gum disease by affecting jawbone health and teeth stability. You might be surprised to know that just one missing tooth can affect the stability of multiple teeth and cause jaw bone loss.
When teeth are missing, the underlying jaw bone is no longer stimulated and begins to recede. When this happens, the teeth that are left behind become less stable in the mouth and may become loose, crooked, or cause problems with jaw alignment.
Loose or crooked teeth, or a misaligned jaw, can increase your risk for gum disease. Crooked teeth are more difficult to clean, and loose teeth may allow bacteria to settle in. These teeth can also become overcrowded as the jawbone continues to deteriorate, posing a risk of tooth fracture or tooth decay.
How to Replace Missing Teeth
It is important to replace missing teeth to keep the jaw in alignment and protect the teeth from decay. Missing teeth may result in issues with bite stability and cause problems eating or speaking, so seeking treatment is important. There are several treatments available to replace missing teeth.
1. Dental Bridges
A bridge is a kind of prosthesis that fills the gap left by a missing tooth and is supported on the surrounding healthy teeth. In dental terms, the artificial replacement tooth is called a “pontic” (from the French word “pont” meaning bridge). The healthy adjacent teeth — called abutments — support the pontic on either side. The completed prosthesis crosses over the gap in your teeth just like a bridge spanning a canyon.
2. Dental Implants
According to tooth replacement experts, a dental implant offers people with missing teeth a permanent smile solution. A dental implant is simply a tiny post embedded in the jaw that attaches onto a dental crown. The crown fills in the gap left by a lost tooth to restore the appearance, health, and full use of your teeth.
Dental implants are often recommended by both patients and dentists because they look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth. And while the cost of dental implants may be more than other options, their many benefits make them well worth the extra dental implant costs.
Dentures are sets of artificial teeth designed to restore functionality without implants. Partial dentures are ideal for people who only need a few teeth replaced, or just the top or bottom arch. Full dentures replace all teeth in the mouth. Both partial and full dentures require impressions of the mouth and precise measurements to ensure they fit correctly.
Implant-supported dentures are full arches of missing teeth secured by a few — usually 4 — strategically placed implants, which support gum health more than traditional dentures. Implants stimulate jaw bone growth, keeping the jaw from shrinking or changing shape over time. Traditional dentures do not offer this benefit.
Replacing A Missing Tooth in Sterling, VA
No matter which option you feel is right for you, Ridgetop Dental in Sterling, VA can help you! Schedule a free consultation with our experienced team online today or call (703) 520-7410 to learn which tooth replacement option is best for you.