Missing Teeth Treatment at Ringwood Dental
What we do with our teeth?
Teeth function to provide us with the ability to chew our food, assist with speech, and enhance our smile and self-confidence. Each tooth lost has the potential to decrease one or more of the aforementioned functions.
Causes of tooth loss?
Other than trauma and congenitally missing teeth, the most common causes of tooth loss are from dental decay, gum disease, and cracked teeth.
Teeth work best as a team
A common conception is that front teeth are for smiling, and back teeth are for chewing. But have you ever wondered why teeth have different shapes? Loss of back teeth will mean front teeth are forced to perform chewing rather than biting. Try eating an apple with just your front teeth. It isn’t much fun.
For balanced chewing one needs to have teeth on both sides of the mouth. Chewing on one side for an extended time places uneven strain on muscles and jaw joints. Muscle and joint pain can result from an unbalanced chewing habit. Furthermore, all the chewing on one side of back teeth will result in increased wear and tear.
The loss of teeth anywhere in the mouth can cause teeth to drift slowly over time, which can cause problems with both smiling and chewing.
What can be done?
- Prevention of further tooth loss
Assess the cause of tooth loss, such as tooth decay or gum disease. If there are underlying factors which result in cracked teeth, these need to be addressed. Without this, further tooth loss is likely to continue.
- Assess remaining teeth
Are these in a suitable position and condition to remain. Your teeth and jaws are a chewing machine in a state and condition in line with your lifestyle and dental care regime. As we age, our options and planning approach may change.
- Did you know?
The longer teeth have been missing the greater potential for teeth to move, tilt, or drift into unfavourable positions. Crooked teeth may result in space being inadequate for a replacement tooth to be positioned. Bone may be lost and change the shape of the overlying gums resulting in changes in appearance.
What is the best replacement tooth?
There is no right or wrong answer here, but what is right for you. The general options usually mentioned are a denture, bridge, or implant. Depending on the number and position of missing teeth, your expectations, financial obligations, one option may suit you better. However, in general, a denture patient will need to accept a lower chewing ability and the inconvenience of daily cleaning of a removable teeth. An implant patient will accept a greater financial and surgical commitment in line with higher chewing ability, and treatment timeframe.
What happens if I do nothing?
Changes to your mouth are ongoing throughout life. Teeth will continue to wear down. Your remaining teeth will work harder, placing them under more strain. Fillings and other restorations may break earlier due to increased workload. Drifting of teeth, although not noticeable on a day to day basis, will be noticeable as years pass. As problems multiply, the solutions for replacement teeth may become more complicated. Ultimately, we may see patients with the false teeth they may never wished to have.