Nobody likes to lose a tooth, but it happens. While pulling a tooth is our last resort, it’s not the end of the world either. You are probably asking yourself: “Now what? Do I have to replace my extracted tooth?”
It is important to fill in the area of the missing tooth. Your surrounding teeth can move, which can change your whole bite, usually for the worse. No matter what, your mouth won’t be in top working order anymore. This can affect chewing, talking, even your smile.
As your family dentist, our job is to push for the best scenario. None of this is ideal, but we do the best we can.
Here’s what can happen if we do nothing — just leave the space as it is. If a tooth is missing posteriorly, it can put strain on other teeth. Since posterior teeth are used for chewing, this will cause those teeth to wear out faster. An extracted bottom tooth, on the other hand, can cause the remaining upper teeth to erupt and come out of the socket, leading to further tooth loss.
There are numerous other ways missing teeth can negatively impact your existing teeth. Fortunately, you have options.
A Dental Implant
A dental implant is your best option, but it’s also expensive. We can do dental implants to replace one tooth, multiple teeth, or to support a complete denture. It’s not the best choice for all patients. As cosmetic dentists, we’ll do a full assessment on your mouth to see if it’s the right choice for you.
Implants are cosmetic teeth that are surgically drilled into your gum line. For all practical purposes, they work like a regular tooth.
A Dental Bridge
A dental bridge involves two teeth on either side of the tooth that is missing. Both teeth are molded to make an impression, which is then sent to a lab to create an artificial tooth ideally designed for the space. The teeth need to be cut down in order to make room for the bridge. The new tooth is cemented into place, connected to the two natural teeth, effectively creating a bridge.
A Denture or Partial Denture
This is a removable appliance — essentially fake teeth that you take out every night. It’s the most cost effective option. We’ll need to do follow-up appointments to make sure we’ve got the right fit.
Keep in mind that dental care is still important even if you have dentures. The dentures will need to be cleaned every night and brushed with a special denture brush in order to protect them. Sometimes dentures can crack or chip and will need repair.
If you should need to have a tooth extracted, remember that life goes on. We have plenty of alternatives to help you regain a healthy smile. You can still eat normally and have a beautiful smile with the right follow up dental care.