“You know Doc, it’s just a back tooth. No one will see it so I’ll just get rid of it. It’s not going to make a difference.” Unfortunately, this is a frequent statement our dental care team hears from patients. Missing teeth are one of the most common dental concerns patients face.
The truth is, though, it WILL make a difference. The loss of a single tooth can set a course that leads to the destruction of an entire mouth. Just like two gears of a car that are not properly aligned, pretty soon, you’ve got a whole set of problems. Dr. Conover, an award-winning dentist in Philadelphia, PA, has replaced countless lost and missing teeth for patients of all ages.
Reasons to Replace Missing Teeth
In addition to cosmetic concerns, there are other reasons to replace missing teeth.
Alignment of Teeth
When a tooth is lost, neighboring teeth can drift, moving into the vacant space. Other teeth will continue to drift and move. Eventually, the alignment of teeth can become significantly altered, affecting not only the appearance but the ability to chew and speak comfortably.
Teeth are very important to retaining bone structure in the jaw and face. When a tooth is missing, the bone starts to deteriorate. Without replacing the tooth, loss of bone can be so significant that neighboring teeth are affected.
Treatment Options for Missing Teeth
Dental implants are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, serving as replacements for missing teeth. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth. It helps to stabilize your jaw and does not affect healthy, surrounding teeth.
Made of titanium or other materials compatible with the human body, dental implants are an optimal solution for missing teeth. Dental implants have over a 95% success rate.
More natural looking and feeling than ever before, dentures or partial dentures can be used when a patient is missing several teeth. Dentures have the same look as natural teeth, allowing patients to chew, speak, and smile normally.
Full dentures replace all of the upper or lower teeth and can be fixed or removable. Fixed dentures are adhered to the gums through dental implants. They offer long-term benefits and require maintenance similar to natural teeth.
Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw and prevent the remaining teeth from changing positions. As with full dentures, a partial denture may also be fixed or removable.
Missing Teeth FAQs
How long does it take to replace a missing tooth?
Complete tooth replacement using implants typically takes between three and six months to complete. After your dentist places your dental implants, you will enter your healing and adjustment phase.
What happens if you don’t replace a missing tooth?
When you’re missing a tooth, the teeth along both sides will shift to compensate for the gap. This results in crooked teeth, which are harder to clean properly and increase the risk of cavities and tooth loss.
Does losing teeth change your face shape?
When teeth begin to move around, it can alter the structure of your jaw and how it fits together. After some time, your jawline will begin to decline gradually, and the facial muscles will no longer be able to support your face, leading to a collapse of your face. This alters the shape of your jaw and makes you look older.
Schedule a Dental Exam & Missing Teeth Consultation Today
Dr. Derek Conover has training and experience in implant dentistry and is pleased to offer state-of-the-art implant treatment to patients with missing teeth.
If you or anyone you know might benefit from dental implant treatment, or if you would like more information on dental implants, please call our office at (215) 395-6076 or contact us online.