If you’re an adult who has lost a tooth, it can be a terrible and often painful experience that leaves you scrambling to figure out what to do next. Missing teeth aren’t just uncomfortable, they can cause some serious problems in your mouth if left untreated.
At Charvet Dental, Dr. Charvet Senior and Junior have cared for many patients with tooth loss. Those who come in right away typically have a straightforward experience and fewer long-term problems. Those who delay coming in to replace missing teeth can sometimes struggle with other challenges over time.
Here are Drs. Charvets’ best tips for dealing with a missing tooth.
What Happens When You Don’t Replace a Tooth?
It Can Impact Your Remaining Teeth
Teeth are designed to work as a unit to support each other and your jaw when talking and chewing. When a tooth is missing, the remaining teeth often shift in order to compensate for the missing neighbor. This will impact the structural integrity of your mouth and create a greater risk for health concerns like gum disease, tooth decay, or malocclusion (improper bite).
It Can Cause Mandibular Disorders (like TMJ!)
Teeth are responsible for stimulating jaw muscles, and when they are missing, it can result in muscle deterioration. This deterioration and atrophy of the facial muscles can cause mandibular disorders like TMJ, with jaw clicking or lockjaw. Replacing missing teeth is essential to prevent this painful jaw disorder!
It Can Have Unanticipated Cosmetic Consequences
We know it’s not all about looks, but it’s natural to feel self-conscious about your appearance after losing a tooth. But some of the cosmetic consequences aren’t as obvious. Because your teeth and jaw muscles are so connected, losing a tooth can atrophy your jawline, impacting your entire facial profile!
What Should You Replace a Tooth With?
There are a few good options for replacing a tooth, but the best choice might depend on your specific dental needs. Get in touch with Charvet Dental to learn more about your specific issue and how they can help fix it.
Depending on how many teeth are missing, here are a few options:
Dentures are often the first thing people think of when they think of missing teeth. These days, dentures are only necessary when total tooth loss is also necessary, and Dr. Charvet can help make that recommendation for you. Dentures are replacement teeth made from strong but lightweight acrylic resin. Traditionally removable, some newer denture options are permanent.
When only replacing a few teeth at a time, a dental bridge uses artificial teeth to fill the gap and stabilize the rest of your teeth by connecting to the remaining teeth. Depending on the case, bridges can be fixed–permanently attached–or removable.
Different from these other options, implants imitate the structure of real teeth by attaching to part of an original tooth or the jawbone. This stimulates the jaw muscles and helps to avoid atrophy. Many patients like this option because they look and feel almost like your real teeth!
Now that you’ve learned about your options, you might have more questions. The best place to get them answered is by scheduling an appointment with Charvet Dental in Metairie, Louisiana! We are available and ready to help!