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Dental Health

Why You Should Replace a Missing Tooth
Sep 22, 2021

kid with missing teeth Dental Care Center

Got a gap? Even adults may lose a tooth sometimes, whether it’s caused by a physical accident, decay, tobacco use, or age.

About 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. Those figures aren’t just older adults, either. The National INstitutes of Health indicates adults ages 20-60 have an average of about 27 teeth.

Adults should have 32 teeth, but that includes four wisdom teeth, so many healthy adults have a full set of 28. While a missing tooth may seem like a cosmetic problem, there is more at stake than a gap in your smile. Here’s why you should talk to your dentist immediately about replacing a lost tooth:

  • Strength – We use our teeth to bite and chew; this allows the bones in our jaw to strengthen. As soon as one tooth is missing, the bone under that tooth gets weaker. Just like with muscles, if you stop using a bone, it will begin to atrophy. Replacing a missing tooth allows the bones in your mouth to keep fulfilling their purpose and stay healthy.
  • Health – Losing teeth also impacts your health and quality of life. As you lose teeth, it becomes harder to chew tougher foods, which are often healthier foods. Meats, vegetables, and nuts are essential for proper nutrition but are difficult to chew if you have missing teeth.
  • Quality of Life – Missing teeth can also have consequences in your social life. It is common for people to become self-conscious about their appearance and/or eating abilities. This may cause you to avoid the activities you used to enjoy.

There’s no need to worry about your lost tooth. Dental practices have come a long way, and we have several options to fix your smile:

  • Dental implants are the best option for tooth replacement because implants are installed in your jawbone, providing stable support for artificial teeth. Once you have an implant, we can add dentures, bridges, or an individual crown. All will feel more secure than other methods. The only drawback is a longer recovery (around three months), but you would have a new permanent tooth that will last the rest of your lifetime.
  • A Bridge is a replacement tooth set by attaching to neighboring healthy teeth. This option provides the most natural-looking result. Bridges help prevent bone loss in your jaw and prevent your teeth from shifting due to the gap left by the missing tooth. Bridges can last for years, but they usually have to be replaced eventually.
  • Partials & Dentures replace more than just a single tooth. We use partials when you are missing a few, but not all teeth in an arch. They are essentially a plate that fits against the roof of your mouth that has false teeth. They use clips to attach to existing teeth to stay in place. Dentures are used to replace an entire arch of your teeth. The plate holds false teeth and gums that fit over your gums and is held in place by suction. Dentures are colored to look like your natural teeth.

At the Dental Care Center, we offer same-day dentures so you can have your smile back without needing multiple appointments. Learn more about our restorative dentistry services that include dental implants, bridges, partials, and dentures, and full-mouth reconstruction. If you are missing a tooth, please contact us to hear more about your options.