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Article 10. Missing Teeth


What does it mean to have missing teeth?

Adults naturally have 32 teeth Your dentist may recommend you to extract your wisdom teeth which will leave you with 28 teeth Missing several teeth can affect your general health, your appearance and self-esteem.


Causes of Tooth Loss

-Tooth decay

-Trauma

-Periodontal disease (Gum disease)

-Cracked teeth

-Some people are born with a reduced number of teeth

-Although lost teeth can be restored many people forego treatment and simply live with tooth loss


Consequences of not replacing missing teeth:

-Jaw bone loss (teeth stimulate and support the bone of the jaw, if teeth are missing, the bone that once supported teeth is no longer stimulated)

-Teeth can move and tilt in an accelerated manner with missing teeth. This can weaken neighbouring teeth until they collapse.

-The opposing teeth of the missing teeth can become over-erupted as they have no teeth to bite against they can become loose as their roots become extruded.

-Bite irregularities can result from missing one or more teeth, affecting your gums, head and neck, jaw muscles and jaw joint.

-Difficulty chewing- depending on location of missing teeth, you may experience difficulty eating the foods you enjoy. Front teeth break off bites of food. Back teeth grind up meats and other foods.

-Missing molars affect the manner in which we chew everything

-Teeth support the shape and structure of your face. As the jaw bone shrinks back, your face can begin to look sunken and aged.

-Teeth play a major role in speech. Missing teeth can make it difficult to pronounce certain words



Replacement options for missing teeth:

-Dental Implants are the most closest replica of your natural teeth as the implant is anchored to your jaw bone and the crown replaces the missing tooth portion above the gum. The implant and crown function as a replacement of the entire missing tooth and is able to chew effectively and is permanent (non removable).

-Another option which is available is a Bridge. The bridge may be suitable for patients who have heavily restored teeth on either side of the missing tooth and requires crowns on these teeth. It is also a permanent restoration method and is usually glued on and not removed.

-The final option is a denture. Dentures can be made of acrylic or metal and they are a removable replacement option for missing tooth. They may not be the most aesthetic option but they are able to fill in gaps and can serve some occlusal function.

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