Gum disease, tooth decay and oral trauma are common causes of missing teeth. It is important to replace a missing tooth rather than leaving the empty space. Your teeth are designed to work together, and the teeth and jaw will often adapt and compensate if a tooth is missing. This means your teeth will involuntarily move to fill the new gap space. This will result in misaligned teeth, which can in some cases, lead to bone loss around a missing tooth, too. For help finding a local dental professional, search for a dentist near you.
Common Causes of Missing Teeth
There are several causes of a missing tooth:
- Gum disease is a serious infection of the gums which affects the jawbone, tissue and teeth. If it is left untreated it can lead to tooth loss.
- Tooth decay is damage to a tooth that can happen when decay-causing bacteria in your mouth attack the tooth’s surface, or enamel. If tooth decay is not treated, it can eventually cause tooth loss.
- Oral trauma may result in tooth loss if you are in an accident or have had a sports injury. Oral trauma can also lead to infection, which may result in a necessary tooth extraction.
- Genetics may be the reason for a missing tooth. Your adult tooth may have never grown in, or it may have been removed because of its final placement in the mouth.
Missing Tooth Replacement Options
Whether you’re missing a tooth because of poor oral hygiene, oral trauma or genetics, there are several treatment options available to replace the missing tooth. These treatment options vary depending on the location of the missing tooth and the health of the adjacent teeth.
There are several options for replacing missing teeth including:
- A dental implant is a highly specialized and effective way to replace a missing tooth. This minor procedure places a metal post in the jawbone. It is a permanent, natural-looking solution to a missing tooth, so you can eat, speak, smile and laugh confidently. Dental implants often last a lifetime, making them the longest lasting tooth replacement option.
- A bridge requires at least three crowns that will be placed on the teeth that lay on either side of the missing tooth. This solution is less permanent than a dental implant, but a good option, nonetheless.
- Dentures are an option for those with many missing teeth. Removable dentures are offered as full dentures and partial dentures. Both options consist of a base that has a natural gum-color to it and is made out of a plastic resin. The nerves and ligaments in the mouth will have to be retrained until they can function properly.
The only way to determine the right replacement option for your missing tooth or teeth is by making an appointment with your dentist. They can then examine your mouth, make an accurate diagnosis and give you their recommended treatment plan.
Who Treats Missing Teeth?
Your general dentist, periodontist, oral surgeon or prosthodontist will treat missing teeth based on what type of solution is needed. Talk to your dentist about your missing teeth today. One of our highly trained dentists will decide what treatment option is most effective for you. To find a dental office near you, visit our locations page.