You may not feel it is necessary to have a missing tooth replaced, especially if that tooth is in the back of your mouth. However, even one missing tooth can significantly impact your smile and your oral health overall. When you lose a tooth, your lips will sink in at that spot, whether the empty space is in the front or back of your mouth. Sinking lips will cause wrinkling in your face and make you appear older.
A missing tooth can also impede your ability to chew food, and can negatively affect your nutrition and well-being. Your back teeth also support the structure of your jawbone. A missing molar can create a misaligned jaw, as the other teeth in your mouth will shift and gravitate toward the empty space. The result can be painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Cosmetic dentistry can prevent these negative effects of losing a tooth. The caring team at Softouch Dental Care in Oakton, Virginia, knows the importance of replacing a missing tooth. Discuss your tooth replacement options by calling 703-319-6990 to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Michael Chung.
How to Replace a Missing Tooth
The three main ways a dentist is able replace lost teeth are:
- Fixed dental bridges
- Dentures and partial dentures
- Dental implants
A dental bridge is a permanent restoration used to hold a fake tooth in place by anchoring to your remaining teeth. There are several different types of bridges that use different methods of anchoring:
- Traditional Bridges: This bridge is used when you have a healthy tooth on both sides of your empty space. Dental crowns are placed on these adjacent teeth and the fake tooth is held securely in place by these crowns.
- Bonded Bridges: These bridges are anchored by a metal framework, and contain a "wing" on each side that connects the bridge to your existing teeth.
- Cantilever Bridges: This bridge is only anchored on one side. Often used for your front teeth and areas of the least stress, a cantilever bridge is used when you have natural teeth on only one side of your gap. The two teeth on that side of your space are fixed with crowns, which provide support for the bridge.
Dentures and Partial Dentures
If you are missing most of the teeth on your bottom or top jaw, you can have the few remaining pulled and be fitted for dentures. If you are missing several teeth scattered throughout your mouth, removable partial dentures give you the functionality and appearance as your real teeth. Both dentures and partial dentures take some getting used to, but can provide a tremendous benefit to your oral health.
Dental implants are tiny metal posts that are implanted into your jawbone to act as your tooth’s natural root. A dental implant is the strongest, most durable option for replacing a missing tooth. Once implanted, your jaw tissue and bone will grow around the metal post, holding it permanently in place. Dental crowns are then fastened to the implants, providing a natural appearance.
If you are missing one or more teeth and are considering replacement options, please contact Softouch Dental Care by calling 703-319-6990 to arrange a consultation with Dr. Chung about cosmetic dentistry for missing teeth. Our Oakton cosmetic dentistry practice serves patients in Tysons Corner, Reston, Fairfax, Vienna, Arlington and the surrounding Northern Virginia areas.