If you’re missing a tooth or two, it can be easy to feel embarrassed. After all, most people have all their teeth, right? Wrong. Actually, it’s incredibly rare to make it very far into adulthood with all the teeth you started out with. In fact, the average Australian is missing not just one, but five teeth, and 3.2% of adults over 45 are missing all their teeth. That number skyrockets to 19.1% after the age of 65.
But just because lots of people are missing teeth doesn’t mean tooth loss can’t present a threat to oral health, and it certainly doesn’t mean that missing teeth have to be permanent gaps in your smile.
Tooth Loss Can Impact Oral Health
Unfortunately, a missing tooth isn’t a self-contained problem. It can put neighboring teeth at increased risk of oral health problems.
First of all, a gap between teeth can create a neat little pocket to catch food debris, increasing the risk of decay-causing bacteria. If your missing tooth tends to get food stuck in it, your chances of getting cavities go way up. Additionally, a gap between teeth can cause the neighboring teeth to “lean” in towards the open space, which can not only make your smile crooked, but can even create problems with your bite. Once one tooth begins to lean, the effect can spread throughout your mough. And of course, if you’re missing multiple teeth in the same area, you risk increased loss of bone density in the jaw.
Replacing Missing Teeth
Luckily, tooth loss doesn’t have to be permanent. There are plenty of options for correcting missing teeth with sturdy, functional replacements.
One reliable option, if you’re a good candidate for it, is a dental implant. This tried-and-true treatment involves the implantation of a titanium root into the jaw, which is then capped with a tooth-colored ceramic crown. Dental implants function just like your normal teeth, so you don’t need to change your diet or lifestyle to accommodate them. And when well cared for, they can last for decades. Thanks to the digital dental implant technology that Dr. Lee uses, implants are faster and easier than ever. Generally, dental implants are a good option for patients who are non-smokers, have healthy gums, and haven’t lost jaw bone density.
Of course, implants aren’t the only option. If you’re interested in something a little less permanent, or are not a good candidate for dental implants, removable partial dentures could be a great choice. Partial dentures consist of a few teeth mounted on a base designed to mimic the appearance of your gums. They anchor to neighboring teeth for stability.
Naturally, if you’re missing more than a few teeth, full dentures should be a consideration. No longer are dentures the stuff of cartoon comedy — instead, dentures can be comfortable, attractive, and functional. Dr. Lee uses some of the most advanced techniques available for denture fitting to give his patients the best possible experience with their dentures.
Want to fill in the gaps in your smile? Call (02) 9686 7375 or contact us online to make an appointment with an experienced cosmetic dentist right here in Baulkham Hills. We can give you back a complete smile!