What You Might Not Know About Replacing Missing Teeth
Most of us know a little about the basics of replacing missing teeth, but unless you’ve spent a lot of time in the dental chair over the years, there are probably quite a lot of details about common treatment options that you don’t know. As they say, the devil is in the details, so if you’ve suffered tooth loss, knowing as much as you can about your treatment options is important to getting the best possible results from your dental restoration. In the interests of helping you do that, here are some things you might not know about replacing missing teeth in Clarksville, TN.
Most Tooth Replacement Options Are Relatively Short-Lived
While many patients assume that once their dental restoration has been completed, they’ll be able to declare “mission accomplished” and get on with their lives, the fact is that, for patients who choose conventional dentures or fixed bridges, treatment will be an ongoing affair. To retain a healthy, comfortable fit and adequate oral function, full or partial dentures will need to be relined every 2 years or so, and most need to be replaced entirely every 5 years, on average. Fixed bridges need regular replacement too, typically every 5 to 7 years. Dental implants offer the best hope of staying away from major dental work for a good long while, since the average lifespan of a dental implant is 25 years, and with careful oral hygiene and care, they may even last for the rest of your life.
Bone Loss In The Jaw Is A Problem With Most Options
Losing teeth – or more specifically, tooth roots – leads to bone loss in the jaw. That’s because bones need stimulation to retain size and strength. In the jawbone, that stimulation is provided by tooth roots as you bite and chew. Missing teeth treatments, such as removable dentures or dental bridges, that replace just the crown of the tooth, offer no such stimulation, allowing the jawbone to shrink away beneath them. The only option that protects against bone loss is dental implants, since this form of dental restoration replaces lost tooth roots as well as crowns.
So why does bone loss matter? Not only can it weaken your jaws, but it can change the appearance of your face, since the jawbones support facial features. As your jaws shrink, you’re face will begin to get shorter, your cheeks will develop hollows and creases, and your lips will appear thinner – a process referred to as facial collapse that causes premature facial aging.
Some Teeth Replacement Options Can Cause More Dental Problems
Partial dentures and fixed bridges rely on surrounding natural teeth for support and retention, which can, over the long-run, cause damage to those teeth. That, of course, means more dental work. This sort of damage isn’t an issue with dental implants, since they offer replacement teeth that are self-supporting.
Most Teeth Replacement Options Will Change How You Eat
Teeth replacement options that rest on the gum ridge, like dentures and bridges, do not function as efficiently as you bite and chew as teeth that are firmly anchored to the jawbone, such as natural teeth or implant-based restorations. That means that using those options to replace missing teeth will make eating some foods much more difficult.
While there are many more details to look into as you consider teeth replacement options, these are among the most important ones in terms of your long-term oral health, comfort and appearance. Drs. Lee and DeFelice will be able to help you learn more about these options and which of them might be best solution to restoring your smile.
Ready to learn more about your options when it comes to replacing your missing teeth? If so, download our free ebook, Three Best Options for Teeth Replacement.
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