Replacing Missing Teeth – Why Is It So Important?
The mouth is made up of several different components, all of which are interdependent. The teeth are a necessity for chewing while the bone and gums supporting and surrounding the teeth are a necessity for the firm attachment of the teeth in the jaws. Replacing missing teeth when a tooth is lost is important as a space is created that can lead to several problems that will be explained below.
This may sound complex but it very clearly represents the intimate interrelationship that exists in the mouth between the health of the oral tissues and the presence of teeth.
In order to help our patients completely understand the significance of a missing tooth, at NQ Surgical Dentistry we have decided to explain the many possibilities that can occur due to an untreated missing tooth. We know that the more informed you are, the better equipped you will be to make an informed decision about undergoing dental treatment.
When a tooth is lost, your risk of gum disease is greatly increased…
The loss of a tooth leaves a space that allows for the movement of the adjacent teeth. This “drifting” of teeth can lead to poor biting contacts between the upper and lower teeth, and can lead to tipping of the adjacent teeth that makes cleaning far more difficult, plaque retention more pronounced and the result can be periodontal disease with bone loss around the adjacent teeth.
Gum disease affects a minority of the Australian population (approx. 13-20%) and is a leading cause of tooth loss. Gum disease being an inflammatory condition has now been shown to influence several systemic diseases including diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, poor birth outcomes including low birth weight and premature birth. This clearly demonstrates the close relationship that exists between oral health and general health. Any factor that makes gum disease more likely indirectly can affect your general health in the future. For this reason it is recommended that missing teeth are generally replaced. Other preventative actions to avoid gum disease include maintaining excellent oral cleaning, regular attendance at a dental hygienist, avoidance of smoking, a healthy diet and plenty of water every day to maintain the quantity and quality of saliva.
A missing tooth will result in loss of bone from the jaw beneath…
Teeth are “loaded” when you chew and the load is evenly distributed to the bone surrounding the roots of that tooth. This is called “orthopaedic stimulation”. Failure to load bone in a section of the jaw due to tooth loss will result on the resorption of bone from that site. The spaces in the mouth where teeth have been lost prematurely are always accompanied by this bone loss from the jaw. The constant loss of bone over the years can leave the elderly patient with a thin and severely weakened jaw that may be prone to fracture.
Partial tooth loss can lead to a poor bite and poor function…
If teeth are lost, the other teeth around them can “drift” and this tooth movement results in a poor bite; that is to say a poor relationship between the upper and lower teeth when they come together for chewing. The result can be what is called “interferences” occurring during chewing. These interferences can lead to over-loading of teeth with resulting bone loss, tooth fracture or root fracture.
The GOLD STANDARD in replacing lost teeth…
At NQ Surgical Dentistry in Townsville we have a wide range of treatments that will help restore the function and appearance of your smile irrespective of whether you have suffered the loss of a single tooth or multiple teeth. When it comes to restoring missing teeth, we can offer all tooth replacement options from a simple acrylic removable denture, through precision fitting cast-metal base removable dentures, to fixed bridgework on prepared natural teeth or on osseointegrated dental implants:
- Dentures are the “entry-level” option as they must be removed from the mouth at night to allow the soft tissues of the mouth to recover from the “all-day-loading” that has taken place.
- Bridges are fixed crowns made from Gold bonding alloy and porcelain with “false crowns” in the place of the missing teeth. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth and remain in place.
- Dental Implants: These can be used to replace a single missing tooth or many missing teeth. Implants are generally pure grade 4 Commercial grade Titanium or Titanium alloy screws placed into the jaws that can support teeth made in the laboratory from porcelain fused to metal. These Titanium implants are biocompatible with the body, and are surgically implanted into the site of tooth loss in order to provide a stable, long-lasting tooth replacement.
- Implant-Retained Dentures (Over-dentures): This is a useful technique for those who have suffered extensive tooth loss or complete tooth loss. This treatment involves dentures that are attached to implants using precision attachments providing a firm and stable denture with which to eat and smile with confidence.
- Implant-borne crowns and bridges: Fixed crowns and bridges on dental implants (teeth fitted permanently)
By assisting you in choosing the most appropriate tooth replacement technique, we are able to ensure you receive a dental restoration that will give you optimal results for a long time to come.
To discover more about tooth replacement methods and dental implants or to book an appointment at our Townsville practice, please do not hesitate to contact the friendly team at NQ Surgical Dentistry today on (07) 4725 1656 or call in to see us at 183 Kings Rd, Pimlico QLD 4812
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