A missing tooth is not only a cosmetic issue, it’s a serious health issue. A full set of functional teeth not only completes your smile and maintains your speech, it also allows the proper processing of all varieties of food, essential for proper nutrition. Bone deterioration in the jaw can also begin once teeth are lost, leading to a smaller jaw and facial disfigurement.
For thousands of years, humans have been looking for solutions to missing teeth. From copper pegs to bamboo shards and even seashells! In modern times, removable dentures, bridges and dental implants are the modern go-to solutions for missing teeth. Still, each have their own pros and cons.
Problems with having missing teeth
Understanding the problems of missing teeth will help understand what each replacement method attempts to overcome.
- Confidence – a missing tooth, particularly at the front of the mouth is very obvious and prevents you from smiling freely and can alter your speech. This creates self-conscious issues and can affect mental health.
- Misaligned teeth – teeth do a job of keeping the surrounding teeth in line. A missing tooth for even a short amount of time can push your teeth severely out of alignment.
- Increased damage to surrounding teeth – the biting force normally taken up by the missing tooth is spread to surrounding teeth, leading to potential pain and sometimes breakages.
- Nutrition – with one or more missing teeth, certain foods can be difficult to eat. Without the right nutrition your health can begin to suffer.
- Jawbone deterioration – one of the lesser known facts is that when the root of the tooth is no longer in the jaw, the jawbone begins to deteriorate. This can create facial disfigurement.
Your tooth replacement options
A common and cost-effective solution is a removable denture that slides into the mouth and is moulded around your gum line. They can replace some or all of your teeth and are held in place temporarily by suction or a denture adhesive.
Removable dentures are uncomfortable, ineffective for eating all types of food and often don’t resemble real teeth. They need to be taken out to be cleaned and can be easily misplaced. You will also need to replace them roughly every 5-7 years. A removable denture will also not stimulate bone growth in your jaw.
The most common solution in recent times to a missing tooth is a dental bridge. Dental bridges, as the name suggests, covers the gap between the missing tooth with the help (or more accurately sacrifice) of the tooth either side of the missing tooth. The two adjoining, otherwise perfect, teeth need to be ground down to a stump in order for a ceramic crown to be fixed. This crown effectively replaces the top of three teeth, yet with the support of just two roots.
Dental bridges put extra pressure on the two remaining teeth as two teeth support the weight of three. Extra care is needed when cleaning so that food and plaque does not build up under the bridge and flossing is not possible in between the elongated crown. A bridge does nothing to prevent the jawbone deteriorating at the site of the missing tooth.
A dental implant is the closest you get to replicating the original tooth. An implant can replace a single tooth, a set of teeth or an entire upper or bottom row of teeth. The implant is placed in the jaw ensuring the bone does not deteriorate. A porcelain crown is fixed to the top of the implant and is designed to perfectly blend into your surrounding teeth.
Dental implants last a lifetime and you clean them just like regular teeth. It is rare that a dental implant is not accepted into the jaw and if this does occur, a new implant can be inserted. Dental implants are strong and allow teeth to act independently of each other, just as they were designed in nature.
The clear case for dental implants
As a Dentist, I strongly recommend dental implants to all my patients. Dental implants are by far the best solution for missing teeth. While they are more expensive than other options, the long-term health benefits are far superior and there is a dental implant solution for all budgets that we can help plan and prescribe.
Get dental implants in Sydney
Dr Finkelstein Dentist is passionate about dental implants and their benefits to patients. We use up to four different implant providers to help match the needs of patients and their budgets. If you’re looking for dental implants in Sydney, Let us help you regain confidence in your smile and enjoy the oral health benefits that a full set of teeth provides.