A single missing tooth can have a significant impact on your smile. Along with that, It can also alter your confidence and the way you feel about smiling.

While most people tend to focus on the cosmetic reasons for replacing a single missing tooth, it is equally important to consider some of the ways a single missing tooth could affect your oral health and your ability to function.

Losing a single tooth may not seem like a great deal of trouble. You still have your remaining teeth and can eat with very few problems. Even if the functional or aesthetic impact of losing a single tooth is limited, it will benefit you more to have it replaced as soon as possible.

A missing tooth can cause problems for the rest of your teeth, and over time, it could result in significant issues with your oral hygiene, your eating ability or your speech.

Potential Effects of A Missing Tooth

The most obvious issue that most people associate with a missing tooth is how it can impact the way their smile looks, especially if the lost tooth was one at the front of the mouth.

For many people, the change in their mouths appearance is enough for them to want to seek out treatment immediately. However, there are those who are still willing to accept that their tooth is missing. Either because their appearance isn’t markedly affected or they are unconcerned with the change.

In which case, the general line of reasoning is that these people feel they can work around the missing tooth. While this would be easy to cope with for a while, a missing tooth can gradually become a bigger problem.

In most instances, a missing tooth will not cause too many immediate problems when it is first lost. However, it can cause issues for other teeth and your general oral health if it is left untreated.

Another common issue associated with a missing tooth is the tendency of other teeth to shift in the direction of the gap left behind by that tooth. Not only would this affect the positioning and straightness of other teeth in your mouth, but it could also in small gaps in-between your teeth. Consequently, food could get trapped in your teeth more often, and issues such as gum disease or decay could occur.

There are also practical concerns that come with a single missing tooth. Depending on the location of this tooth, it may have an impact on your ability to bite and chew. As well as this, a missing tooth could also affect the way you speak.

Solutions For Replacing A Missing Tooth

Seeking a replacement as soon as possible is the best way to avoid the problems that come with losing a tooth. The following are the three most common solutions for replacing a single missing tooth.

Solution 1: Removable Partial Denture

A removable partial denture is one of the solutions to replace a missing tooth. With this option, you have a base material that is designed to match the colour of your gum tissue. Fixed to this base is the replacement tooth. Plates used for a single missing tooth are usually smaller than those designed for multiple missing teeth.

These removable dentures are a solution that you can wear throughout the day and are one of the more affordable replacements. However, some functional drawbacks come with a removable denture.

Firstly, a removable denture is not fixed into your mouth, meaning that there is a chance of it slipping when you are talking or eating. Furthermore, the potential for a removable denture to move around in your mouth may cause some irritation to areas of the mouth.

Your dentist will put significant effort into making sure that your denture fits correctly. However, there will always be the chance that a denture will move around slightly.

Beyond that, there can also be some issues related to the fact that there is no longer a root in the jaw. With the tooth missing, the bone in that area may start to shrink.

Over time, this may affect the shape of your face, which may affect the fit of the denture. Consequently, you may need to have adjustments made to your denture over time.

As a final point, you would need to consider how long this fix would last. Removable dentures tend to have the shortest lifespan of use before the need to seek another replacement. In most cases, you could expect a denture to last for around five years.

Solution 2: Fixed Dental Bridge

A fixed dental bridge is a good option for those who still have healthy teeth on both sides of a gap left behind by the missing tooth. If one or both of these teeth need a crown, a fixed dental bridge could be a solution for both the missing tooth and abutment teeth.

Unlike the removable denture, the dental bridge is a solution that is fixed in the mouth and cannot be removed by the patient. This fix provides satisfactory functional and aesthetic results. However, there still are some disadvantages to consider.

One of the most notable of these disadvantages would be that dentists would need to prepare the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. To achieve this, they would need to shape them to fit the crowns supporting the bridge. As a result, healthy teeth may need to become damaged so that the bridge can fit into place.

As an additional point of concern, a bridge is difficult to keep clean. Just like your natural teeth, you will need to brush and floss. However, flossing a bridge is different from flossing your natural teeth. Instead of between the teeth as you would normally do, you will need to floss under the bridge. A floss threader would make it more possible to clean the dental bridge. It may also be helpful to practice new flossing techniques to work around your dental bridge.

When it comes to the lifespan of a fixed bridge, it is a longer-lasting solution than a removable partial denture. If you can avoid as much injury, decay or disease as possible, your dental bridge can last around ten years. As long as the abutment teeth are still healthy, your dentist will be able to replace your dental bridge if needed.

Solution 3: Dental Implants

Dental implants prove to be one of the most trusted solutions for replacing a single tooth. As well as having the appearance similar to a natural tooth, the implant itself is composed of titanium that integrates with the jaw to replace the missing root. As a result, dental implants are a highly functional fix that can help preserve the shape of the jaw.

With the implant acting as the root, you have a replacement tooth that performs far more similar to a natural tooth than the other two options. You can bite and chew just as well as before the loss of your natural tooth at it won’t impact your facial structure or your speech. If treated with care, dental implants act as a near-permanent solution for a missing tooth.

With the implant acting as the root, you have a replacement tooth that performs far more similar to a natural tooth than the other two options. You can bite and chew just as well as before the loss of your natural tooth at it won’t impact your facial structure or your speech. If treated with care, dental implants act as a near-permanent solution for a missing tooth.

Finding a replacement for a missing tooth can do a lot to restore the appearance of your smile and maintain the health of your remaining teeth.

You can discover more about the benefits of dental implants with the below video, which compares the different solutions for single missing teeth.

 

At Brighton Implant Clinic, we offer a range of solutions for patients with single or multiple missing teeth. Established in 200, we have five clinics spread across Sussex and a team of experienced and knowledgeable dentists, dental nurses and dental technicians.

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