What to Know About Tooth Loss
If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, you are not alone. Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss, primarily the result of tooth decay, gum disease, or injury. On average, adults between the ages of 20 and 64 will have three or more decayed or missing teeth. Although you may be self-conscious about your smile, tooth loss isn’t just a cosmetic issue. Large spaces between your teeth can allow your remaining teeth to shift. Many also experience difficulty speaking and chewing as a result, especially when they are missing a molar. There is no reason to simply suffer from missing teeth. There are many reasons to correct this issue and improve both the quality of your life and general oral health for years to come.
You may be familiar with dentures, bridges, and dental implants as options to replace a lost tooth or multiple teeth. Conventional dentures are an option for those who have several teeth missing. The teeth are replaced with a removable frame holding the artificial replacement teeth. On the other hand, fixed bridges will ‘bridge’ the gap where one or more of your teeth used to be. Artificial teeth will fill the gap and are attached to your remaining surrounding teeth for support.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are another option to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth. They are a very popular option for their longevity and will typically be the most similar to a natural tooth. Dental implant surgery replaces the tooth roots with metal, screw-type posts and replaces the tooth with an artificial tooth. Thus, a tooth implant will replace the tooth both above and below your gum line.
Dental implants can provide an alternative solution to tooth loss for those who find dentures to cause too much discomfort or too cumbersome to be a good fit. They may also offer an alternative to a dental bridge that does not involve removing good tooth structure to support a bridge. Dental implants have a documented success rate of over 95%, making them an excellent option for tooth replacement. They are also the most conservative form of replacing a missing tooth or teeth without causing any injury to the adjacent teeth. Unlike bridges or dentures, dental implants are not liable to slipping, making noise, or causing bone damage in the same way that is possible with fixed bridges or dentures.
Patients will need to have healthy oral tissue to support a dental implant and have either adequate jawbone to secure their implant or be a suitable candidate for a bone graft. When considering a tooth implant to replace your missing tooth, it is also important to note that you will need to commit several months to the process.
Typically, if you are healthy enough to undergo a routine extraction or surgery, you can be considered for a dental implant. However, those who suffer from certain chronic illnesses, those who receive radiation therapy, and heavy tobacco users may not be good candidates for dental implants. If you suffer from tooth loss, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your personal situation and help you find which option is best for you.