Options for Missing Teeth – How to Regain a Confident Smile?

Teeth are an essential part of our smile. Healthy teeth and gums reflect a healthy and bright smile.

Any dental problem like tooth decay, tooth discoloration, missing tooth, or gum inflammation can affect dental health as well as the appearance of one’s smile.

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Missing a single tooth or multiple teeth is a normal process in children during the time primary teeth fall out.

The concerns start when a person misses or loses a permanent tooth.

Most commonly, teenagers have a higher tendency of losing a tooth while playing contact sports like football, basketball, and boxing.

Often when such an incident happens, parents fail to follow proper steps while handling the traumatic event before the dental visit.

Knowing such common dental incidents can help to save the injured tooth on time.

Moving ahead, we will highlight the modern advanced dental techniques that can help to replace the lost tooth and restore your beautiful smile.

What are the reasons for missing teeth?

Primary tooth loss is a natural dental process. However, apart from this process, there are several reasons for missing teeth. Some of them are as follows – (1)

  • Tooth decay – an untreated or uncared carious tooth becomes a host for bacterial invasion. The result being gross destruction of the tooth structure and eventual tooth loss.
  • Gum disease or periodontal infection – one of the most common and a leading cause of tooth loss among older adults is gum disease and periodontal destruction. Diseased gums and periodontal detachment allows bacteria to cause infection and tooth loss further.
  • Traumatic injury – this incident is most common among teenagers who play contact sports. Incisors are particularly at risk during a traumatic dental injury.
  • Congenital disorder – in some cases like anodontia or oligodontia, tooth buds of the permanent teeth fail to develop in the first place. (2)
  • Certain genetic diseases like ectodermal dysplasia, Down’s syndrome can cause missing teeth.

How do missing teeth affect your smile?

No one likes to have gaps between their teeth. Missing teeth can have many effects on oral health and hygiene. Some of them are as follows –

  • Change in bite is a common problem that often affects the functioning of teeth during chewing.
  • Improper bite consequently causes pain in the facial muscles and jaw
  • Speech difficulties
  • One of the major concerns for missing teeth is the aesthetics of the smile. O
  • Gaps between teeth often cause tilting of the adjacent teeth into space. This incident further causes food entrapment, ineffective cleaning, and spacing between adjacent teeth.
  • The tooth opposite to the missing tooth often supra-erupts.
  • Plaque accumulation and tooth decay are common dental problems.
  • Having an unpleasant smile directly affects the confidence of the person.

What treatments can fix your smile?

Some of the best treatment options for saving a missing tooth or replacing it professionally are as follows –

Tooth reattachment

Tooth reattachment is the best procedure for children under the age of 15 years. If the child loses his tooth, contact the dentist immediately to book an emergency appointment. (3)

While waiting for the appointment, follow the steps below –

  • Rinse the tooth in cold water.
  • Do not rub the surface
  • Do not apply soap
  • Place the tooth back into the socket and cover it with clean gauze or washcloth. Ask the child to hold the tooth in place by slightly biting on the gauze.

If the above procedure sounds too complicated, place the tooth in a clean container with cold milk.

Take the container to the dentist. The dentist will graft the tooth back into the socket.

Dental implants

Permanent implants are an excellent choice for tooth replacement. Implants are long-lasting and natural looking.

However, they are an excellent choice for patients above the age of 18 years. As implants require proper bone density and strength, which may be ideal in adults.

Implants are also a right choice for single or multiple tooth replacement, as a crown or a denture can be custom fitted on the implants. (4)

Dentures

Partial dentures are used for replacement of one or more teeth. However, dentures are not a fixed dental option.

Partial dentures come with a metal or plastic frame which clips on and takes support from the adjacent teeth.

Wearing dentures and getting used to it may take a while, especially for young patients. (5)

Additionally, it may also require regular cleaning and adjustment to make it comfortable for the patient.

An artificial tooth with retainers

A special type of dental prosthesis is a retainer with an artificial tooth.  These appliances are also called as prosthetic dental flippers.

Dental flippers are a temporary solution to restore the smile until the permanent treatment is addressed.

The retainer is usually made from a transparent material which rests over natural teeth. The artificial tooth is made from porcelain, and it matches the color of the enamel.

Take away message

Nobody likes to have gaps in between the teeth. Missing teeth can have a significant impact on the self-esteem and confidence of an individual.

Several reasons can cause tooth avulsion or disrupt the formation of the tooth bud in the jaw.

Some of the common causes include genetic disorders like ectodermal dysplasia, traumatic incident, and periodontal disease.

Well-aligned teeth characterize a beautiful smile without gaps in between. However, with a missing tooth, the dream of having a perfect smile shattered.

Apart from aesthetics, missing teeth affect some of the most critical functions of the mouth, like eating and speaking.

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Restoration of a missing tooth depends on the type of injury. Young permanent teeth can be reattached into the socket immediately.

While in adults, tooth replacement includes implants, partial dentures, or dental flippers.

A dental professional is the best person to advise you on the suitable treatment options for missing tooth replacement.

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