As you get older even though you are taking good care of your teeth problems can occur. Even if you practice a perfect dental care routine that includes regular trips to the dentist, brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing between every meal and rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash, tooth decay can still occur. According to the Canadian Dental Association, nearly 100% of adults around the world have tooth decay. It’s an inevitability that’s largely attributed to the high sugar levels and acid concentrations found in our food. These elements can breakdown tooth enamel, jeopardizing the internal health and structure of our teeth. Severe tooth decay without treatment can lead to tooth loss—another condition that plagues many adults around the globe.
Adults with missing teeth are far more common than you might think, so don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if one or more of your teeth have fallen out. Fortunately, there are a number of dental innovations and solutions that can help restore the beauty of your smile and fill in those missing teeth so that no one will even realize they were gone in the first place!
Generally, dental implants are a viable option for people who are missing teeth but they’re not necessarily for everyone. The application of a dental implant involves a surgical procedure that not all patients are comfortable undergoing, but the good news is that once the area is fully healed, no one will ever know the difference between the implant and your natural teeth.
Dental implants are specially designed to look and function like your natural teeth. Even the colouration is made to match your surrounding teeth so that the implant seamlessly blends in.
During the procedure a titanium metal frame is secured in the affected area(s). Then a replacement tooth—also known as a crown—is placed on top of the implant, holding the entire structure securely in place.
Just like any other type of dental or medical procedure, there are a few advantages and disadvantages to getting dental implants.
One of the advantage of implants is that the crown is made to resemble your natural teeth, so they blend right in and no one will be able to tell which one is the replacement tooth.
Another advantage is that implants don’t require the use or support of your other teeth, which means your surrounding teeth won’t be impacted by it.
Lastly dental implants are permanent fixtures that can and should be treated just like your other teeth. With proper oral care, dental implants should last you for a very long time and can even last for the rest of your life.
Some patients may be deterred by the fact that this is a surgical procedure, but your dentist will most likely administer a local anesthetic, sedative, or both depending on your comfort level to numb the affected area and ease any anxiety you may be feeling. Discuss your specific needs with your dentist ahead of time.
Another disadvantage of undergoing dental implant treatment is the timeline. Your dentist will have to wait until the implant is fully healed before they can attach the crown. Healing and recovery times vary from patient to patient, so it’s hard to predict how long that will take, but your dentist will give you special instructions on how to care for the implant in the meantime.
Cost can also be an issue for some patients and not all dental insurance covers implants.
Dental bridges are another feasible option for people who are missing teeth. As a less invasive alternative to dental implants, bridges actually do require the use of surrounding natural teeth or dental implants, which can be a deterrent for patients with weak tooth structures. The teeth that act as the structural support system are called abutments.
If you happen to be missing multiple teeth in the same area like side-by-side or one tooth apart, then a dental bridge might be the ideal choice for you. As the name suggests, a dental bridge quite literally bridges the gap between two or more surrounding teeth.
During this procedure, dental cement is used to bond the replacement bridge directly to the abutments.
Just like dental implants, bridges are made to look and function exactly like your natural teeth. The main difference is the nature of the procedure itself and the cost. Dental bridges are typically less costly than implants, but the price and insurance coverage will vary depending on your geographic location, the type of coverage you have, and specific needs.
There are a few disadvantages to getting dental bridges that you should be aware of, however. Your dentist will have to alter the adjoining teeth by reshaping or shaving them in order to properly fit the bridge in place. Even when performed correctly, this process can weaken the structural integrity of the surrounding teeth and leave them vulnerable to infection and breakage.
Your dentist will schedule a preliminary consultation with you ahead of time to examine your teeth and determine if a dental bridge is the right treatment option for you.
If you’re missing all or some of your teeth, then your dentist might recommend partial or complete dentures. Dentures are a type of detachable dental appliance that are accurately fitted to the exact shape and size of your mouth. They consist of a variety of artificial teeth.
Partial dentures are made specifically to fit over your few remaining teeth while also bridging the gaps where teeth are missing.
Complete dentures are for patients who have lost all of their teeth due to tooth decay, illness, or injury. They’re made to resemble a full set of upper and lower teeth.
The base of partial and complete dentures is made to match the colouration and natural shape of your gums.
Compared to dental implants and bridges, dentures are the most affordable and convenient solution if you have multiple missing teeth.
Dentures require special care. They should be removed and carefully cleaned every night before you go to bed. One disadvantage to wearing dentures is that there’s a minor adjustment period during which you have to get used to wearing them.
For over 20 years, Princeview Dental Group has been helping patients in Etobicoke and across the GTA improve their smiles and regain their confidence. Don’t feel discouraged if you’re missing one or more teeth! Book an appointment at our clinic today and we’d be more than happy to help you!