What Are The Best Options For Replacing Missing Teeth?

Many people all over the world suffer from missing teeth. Some of the most common causes of it can be gum disease, accidents, genetic conditions, and tooth decay. If left untreated tooth loss can cause issues with self-esteem, bone loss, problems with chewing patterns, etc. In this article, we will discuss the ways that dental procedures can help deal with problems caused by missing teeth and help you find the best possible treatment for you and your problem. 

Image illustrating a patient with missing teeth

Causes Of Missing Teeth

We lose our teeth as we grow up and this is normal. Usually primary or initial teeth also known as baby teeth will be the first to fall. After these first teeth fall out, the adult teeth that are left are permanent and will not be replaced naturally. Several risks can damage the health of these teeth, like health issues, a wide range of conditions, or several other factors. 

Genetics

In some rare instances, permanent teeth cannot be formed due to several medical conditions or due to an inherited malformation of the upper and lower mandible which is the jawbone. This type of tooth loss is called tooth agenesis and it usually occurs with certain congenital conditions, including cleft palate and lip and Down syndrome. The three kinds of congenitally missing teeth are:

  • Hypodontia: When one to five adult teeth never erupt after the main ones fall out, it is known as hypodontia, which is the most frequent form of agenesis.  
  • Oligodontia: When six or more teeth are lost as a result of agenesis, it is called oligodontia.
  • Anodontia: Secondary teeth never erupt in anodontia, and there isn’t even a single set.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is another common cause of missing teeth. During this condition, there are spaces created between the teeth which are also referred to as pockets. If it is left untreated, the teeth and bones can start to decay and the tissues can recede, which can cause the tooth to fall. Gingivitis is a minor kind of gum disease that causes inflammation, redness, and bleeding. Usually, this condition will be treated if you maintain good dental care and hygiene and if it is diagnosed at the right time. This condition can become severe if left untreated leading to periodontitis in which the plaque builds below the gumline. In this case, you should visit the dentist to find the right treatment. 

Injury

In some cases, tooth loss can occur due to sports injuries, car accidents or other kinds of injuries. This kind of tooth loss requires immediate care from the dentist or the endodontist. The best thing to do is visit the dentist as soon as possible, preferably within a half hour. 

Caring For A Lost Tooth

If you lose a tooth due to an accident you can try to put the tooth back in its socket. As we mentioned before, try to visit the dentist as soon as possible. If you cannot put it back in its place try to keep it in a glass of milk. It is best to leave the teeth untouched and not try and clean them with any chemicals. 

Image illustrating the possible causes of tooth loss

Additional Risk Factors

Tooth loss can be caused by several other dental health conditions and behavior, and some of them are:

  • Cavities formed by tooth decay
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive smoking
  • Not being able to receive the proper dental care
  • The inability to take care of your teeth in the proper way

However, you should know that teeth loss can also be caused by several medical conditions such as:

  • Diabetes 
  • Liver conditions
  • Heart conditions
  • Asthma
  • Stroke which is caused by a disruption of blood flow to the brain
  • Emphysema which is a lung disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that can affect the joints

Impact Of Missing Teeth

If you have lost a tooth or several of them, you should know that you should take measures to fix this issue. The effect of missing teeth can be:

  • Problems during chewing and eating
  • Not being able to eat enough food 
  • Limited food choices
  • Low self-esteem
  • Possibility of teeth to migrate
  • Deterioration or bone loss
  • Weak jaw muscles and structure
  • Higher risk of developing cavities or other dental conditions
Image illustrating toothache

Best Options To Replace Missing Teeth

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the most commonly used method to replace missing teeth. It doesn’t matter which teeth are missing because implants can replace each one of them. The procedure consists of surgically placing a titanium metal post or frame into the jaw of the missing teeth. The implant will take some time to heal before the replacement tooth will be mounted to the implant. This will allow the artificial teeth to stay in place acting just like the natural ones. 

Advantages Of Dental Implants

One of the biggest advantages of dental implants is that they look almost identical to your natural teeth and can last for a very long time. The teeth nearby will not be affected by this treatment because it will involve only the affected area. 

Disadvantages Of Dental Implants

It is important to be in good health before the procedure because this is still considered a surgical procedure. You should also know that the healing process can take some months because the gums take time to recover. It is important to be patient because the dentist will not be able to place the artificial tooth until the implant heals. One thing that we can call a disadvantage is that dental implants can be a little expensive and not everyone can afford them. 

Image illustrating dental implants in Albania.

Factors To Consider

Before receiving implants your dentist will provide advice you should follow.  

  • Because this is a minor surgical procedure, you should provide your doctor with your medical history. This is important because some patients are not suitable for this procedure due to several medical conditions, so the doctor needs a careful health screening before moving forward with the procedure. 
  • As we mentioned before this procedure has a recovery period so it requires patience. Physical activity should be avoided for at least one week and in the first two days try to lower your activity levels. It takes time for the implant to integrate into your jawbone until the permanent tooth is placed. 
  • Another thing you should consider is whether you need a single tooth replacement or multiple. In the second case, the healing period can take more time. The dentist will decide whether you are a good candidate for multiple teeth replacement or not. 
  • The cost of dental implants is another important factor to consider because the prices can vary from clinic to clinic and you should always discuss this with the dentist during the initial consultation to be prepared. 

Best Candidates For Dental Implants

The best candidates for dental implants are those who have optimal bone health. In these cases, the dentist may be able to place the dental implants on the same day as the tooth extraction, which is referred to as immediate implant placement. During the initial consultation, your dentist will examine your oral health and decide if immediate implant placement is the best course of action for you. If this is not the case for you the dentist will recommend delayed implant placement. This is done to minimize any risk of infection in your jawbone and will give time for the bone to heal properly. Some patients may also require bone grafts to make it possible for the implants to stay in place. Usually, the healing phase takes about two months and after that, the artificial teeth can be placed. 

Fixed Dental Bridge

Another option to consider if you are not a suitable candidate for a dental implant is the fixed dental bridge. If you are missing one or more teeth in the same area this can be the right treatment for you. A fixed bridge uses an artificial tooth, also known as a dental prosthesis, to fill up the space left by a lost tooth. Dentin cement is used to bind the prosthesis to neighboring teeth and secure it there. The price of this treatment varies on several factors that will need to be discussed with the dentist during the consultation. 

Advantages Of Dental Bridges

The main advantage of this procedure is that it provides the look and feel of natural teeth. You may notice that they make the natural teeth on each side of the gap seem better. Moreover, they are usually less expensive than dental implants.

Disadvantages Of Dental Bridges

This kind of tooth replacement option can cause difficulties while cleaning, making it hard to maintain proper dental hygiene. Another disadvantage is that it will involve altering the nearby teeth and if it is poorly fitted it could damage the teeth nearby over time. If bacteria build underneath the bridge this can lead to tooth decay or infection. 

Image illustrating partial dentures in Albania

Removable Partial Dentures

Dentures can either be used to replace all your teeth or some of them. The doctor will send your measurements to a laboratory and they will make an appliance that consists of the replacement teeth which are attached to a natural-looking pink base to match with your gums. This device will stay in place with the help of the other teeth nearby, even though some partial dentures have clasps that adjoin them to the natural teeth. The foundation is made to seem like your gums, and the teeth are meant to look like your real teeth. If you require several tooth replacements in one area of your mouth, these dentures may be a possibility.

Advantages Of Partial Dentures

Compared to alternative tooth replacement solutions, removable partial dentures are less costly, easier to maintain, and have a natural appearance and feel in the mouth.

Disadvantages Of Partial Dentures

Partial dentures may cause discomfort for some people, at least initially until they become used to wearing them. Every day, you should take out your dentures, clean them, and put them away before going to bed. They may become more vulnerable to harm as a result of this ongoing treatment.

Image illustrating full dentures in Albania

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures, often referred to as full upper or full lower dentures, replace a whole arch of lost teeth, in contrast to partial dentures that only replace a portion of the teeth. Complete dentures are available for either or both of your upper and lower teeth. Artificial teeth and a denture foundation make complete dentures. You will be able to chew and speak with the artificial teeth just like you would with your teeth. The fake teeth are held in place and attached to your gums via the base.

Complete dentures are detachable since they do not use the same jaw implants as alternatives such crowns, bridges, implants, and partial dentures. Every night before going to bed, you should take them off and keep them in a jar with a liquid cleaner. For patients who wish to avoid receiving dental implants but require a replacement for several lost teeth, this therapy is perfect. Your whole row of lost teeth is covered with complete dentures.

Advantages Of Complete Dentures

  • Complete dentures will significantly improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence, replacing missing teeth that can cause problems with your jaw. 
  • They will restore facial dimensions providing lip and cheek muscle support. This will make you look better and younger. 
  • Similar to partial dentures, complete dentures may help you speak better and eat more comfortably, depending on the condition and volume of your bone.
  • They are a quick and inexpensive kind of care.
  • They may closely resemble your natural gums and are available in a range of colors, shapes, and sizes. They may also seem very natural.
  • Your jawbone’s form can be readily accommodated by the dentist by relining or adjusting them to fit the denture.

Disadvantages Of Complete Dentures

  • They might no longer fit properly because of a shift in the contour of your jawbone.
  • To clean them and allow your gums to heal, you must take them off and leave them outside for the night.
  • To make them comfortable, many alterations are sometimes required.
  • Adhesives can be needed to keep them in your mouth.
  • If dropped, they could fracture.

Best Candidates For Complete Dentures

If you need to replace a whole arch of teeth, full dentures are an affordable solution. They are appropriate if:

  • Few of your original, healthy teeth are left. If most of your natural teeth are missing, this procedure is perfect for you.
  • If you don’t want implant surgery, you may consider complete dentures.
  • There is not enough bone in your body to hold implants. For people who wish to avoid having a bone graft but have limited bone available, complete dentures are perfect.
  • If you suffer from a health issue that might stop you from receiving implants, let the dentist know. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Get Veneers With No Teeth?

Veneers are shells made of porcelain or ceramic that are applied over natural teeth to improve their look. Usually, they are not utilized to replace complete teeth, but rather to address lesser problems like chipping or fractures so you cannot get veneers if teeth are missing. 

Can You Get Braces With Missing Teeth?

If you are missing teeth, you can have braces. In fact, before getting a dental implant, braces could be required to straighten your teeth. When teeth are missing, dental alignment techniques can be tried, and in certain cases, even advised. This all relies on the particular circumstances of the client.

Is Having A Missing Tooth Bad?

Missing a tooth can cause several issues to your overall oral health so yes it is considered bad. Some of the reasons why this problem should be treated as soon as possible are: 

  • Because teeth can move, losing them can cause your bite to become misaligned, or malocclusion and it will be difficult to set the teeth back in their place. 
  • It could affect your chewing, which might have an impact on your nutrition, leading to jaw pain, and other health issues.
  • It affects one’s sense of self and self-worth, particularly if tooth loss is noticeable.
  • It raises the possibility of more tooth loss or other oral health issues.

Are Missing Teeth Genetic?

Genetics indeed has a role in certain tooth loss cases. Tooth agenesis, in which one or more adult teeth never erupt, is thought to affect 1% of the population. Variations in the morphology of the upper and lower jaws create this, which ranges in severity from hypodontia to anodontia.

What’s The Most Common Missing Tooth?

In general, most persons have one or more missing teeth, and the frequency increases with age. Of course, certain teeth are more prone to fall out than others. The wisdom teeth, upper lateral incisors, and bicuspids/secondary premolars are the most often missing teeth.

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