Patients can experience tooth loss for a variety of different reasons. Some are from factors beyond your control, while others are due to issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and dental negligence. Finding the right ways to maintain a healthy smile can reduce your risk of tooth loss. Address your tooth loss today, or you will eventually develop other dental problems and concerns due to missing teeth.
Los Altos dentist Dr. Ken Schweifler understands the importance of maintaining a healthy smile. He takes a healthy-centered approach to dental care and only recommends solutions to improve your overall wellness. As an experienced dentist, he works with you to educate you on your options and help you regain your dental health.
Why Should I Replace Missing Teeth?
Aside from the aesthetic reasons for replacing missing teeth, there are many other reasons for replacing lost teeth. When you lose a tooth, the surrounding bone begins to deteriorate. The facial muscles rely on the jawbone to support them and keep your face looking full. Without the bone or a tooth replacement, this area of your face sags and appears sunken in, aging you past your years.
When a tooth is missing, the teeth around it are going to try and shift so they can fill in that gap. If you’ve had orthodontic treatment to get a straighter smile at any point, that can be compromised when you have missing teeth. You’ll most likely need further correction when you get a tooth replacement. The longer you go without replacing missing teeth, the more jumbled your smile may become.
You’re also more likely to suffer from other oral health issues if you’re missing teeth. The remaining teeth are more likely to decay and once one tooth is missing, you’re more likely to lose more. Missing teeth give you an uneven bite as well. Your teeth come together, and the pressure of the bite distributes evenly throughout your smile. But this isn’t the case with missing teeth. Certain teeth take on more pressure for the tooth that isn’t there. These teeth wear down faster and are more susceptible to chips or breaks.
There are different consequences depending on where the missing teeth are located in the mouth. Teeth are vital for many things, including chewing up food and speaking clearly. They’re important to make the proper sounds when we pronounce words. You may have a speech impediment with missing teeth. If a molar is missing, it’s harder to chew up your food. Molars are used the most to chew up and digest your teeth.
So, when you leave missing teeth untreated, it can lead to further complications. Early intervention can reduce your risk of extensive bone loss and reduce your risk of additional tooth loss. If you are missing one or more teeth, schedule a consultation with Dr. Schweifler of Los Altos, CA. He can work with you to rebuild lost teeth and restore health and function to your smile.
In many ways, a dental implant is one of the most effective solutions for replacing a missing tooth. An implant replaces the missing tooth roots and the visible portion of the tooth. Implants are made of titanium, a material impervious to decay and tends to be a long-term, effective solution for lost teeth.
A tooth implant can replace a missing tooth or secure a denture or dental bridge for a more fixed solution.
For patients missing a full or partial arch of teeth, we can use a few strategically placed implants to support a full or partial denture. Traditional dentures can be uncomfortable, cause slippage, and make chewing and speaking difficult. With implant-secured dentures, your dentures are fixed into place so you can chew, speak, and smile confidently. A denture secured by dental implants is sometimes called “All-On-Four”. This is where as few as four strategically placed implants support an entire arch of missing teeth.
Dr. Schweifler works closely with local surgeons for the surgical phase of the implant procedure. Once the implants fuse into the jaw bone (over the course of several months), he will begin to restorative phase in our Los Altos dentist office.
If you want to learn more about dental implants or explore tooth replacement options, visit Dr. Ken Schweifler for a consultation.
Missing Teeth FAQs
What causes missing teeth?
There may be many causes of missing teeth. You can lose a tooth to a dental injury or a hit to your mouth. Tooth decay and gum disease are other common causes of tooth loss. As harmful bacteria affect the gum tissue, the gums can recede, loosening permanent teeth.
Decay can also enter a tooth. If tooth decay is too extensive for a root canal, we may recommend an extraction. Patients may also have congenitally missing teeth due to genetics.
What are my replacement options if I’m missing one tooth?
Dr. Schweifler can replace your missing tooth with a dental bridge or an implant-supported dental crown. If you choose a dental bridge, the dentist will grind down the two adjacent teeth to make room for the crowns on both ends of the bridge. A bridge will not prevent bone from occurring.
If you choose an implant-supported crown, your dentist will place a single dental implant into the void and attach a dental crown to it. This natural option doesn’t require damaging healthy teeth and will prevent bone loss.
How much does it cost to replace a single missing tooth?
Treatment costs can vary depending on the type of dental restoration you choose. A dental bridge is often more economical than a dental implant. However, a dental implant will last longer and does not require tooth preparation for the teeth on either side of the missing tooth gap. We will help you consider the benefits of either restoration and review your dental insurance to help you find the best option for your budget.
What should I do if I am missing all my teeth?
Dental implants are the best choice compared to traditional removable dentures. Implants will replace the teeth at the roots to avoid bone loss. Traditional dentures are much more unstable and will not avoid bone loss. However, it is important to know that dental implants will require a significant investment initially.
Is it better to pull a tooth than fix it?
We will try to conserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. Before recommending dental extractions, we will consider dental crowns for worn or damaged teeth, root canal treatments for decayed teeth, or gum disease treatment for loose teeth due to periodontitis.
Sometimes, it is best to remove and replace a tooth if we cannot save it by other means. However, we will provide a natural-looking and fully functional restoration if we must restore your tooth.
Do I have to replace my missing teeth?
If you do not replace your missing teeth, many things can affect your oral health. The underlying bone will begin to deteriorate slowly, and you will not be able to chew certain foods. The surrounding teeth will begin to shift towards the missing tooth gap.
All of these issues may affect your bite, which can lead to painful TMJ issues. While no one will make you replace your missing teeth, it is important to know your health will suffer if you do not.