You have several options for handling a missing tooth whether your tooth was pulled or lost due to an accident. First, consider what tooth or teeth are missing. Some treatment options are better for front teeth versus molars. Dr. Lineberry and the Carolina Center for Comprehensive Dentistry will examine the area surrounding your missing tooth and discuss the pros and cons of each option with you to determine the best solution for your needs.
Common Treatment Options
- Do nothing. Although we don’t recommend this option, it is your choice.
- Dental Implants. A dental implant replaces a single missing tooth or acts as a base for other options. The implant itself is surgically inserted into the jawbone. It is the most natural looking option and very durable. Learn more about dental implants.
- Dental Bridge. A bridge is a restoration option used to replace one or more missing teeth by adhering an artificial tooth to the adjacent teeth. A bridge spans the gap created by a missing tooth and can either be fixed or removable. The right solution will be dependent on your specific needs.
- Dentures. When most or all of your teeth are missing, the best option may be a full or partial set of dentures, which are supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues and are typically removable. Learn more about dentures.
Why You Should Treat a Missing Tooth
Missing a front tooth has obvious effects on your appearance, your smile and maybe even your confidence. If you are missing a molar or tooth that is not easily visible, however, you may consider not seeking treatment. We do not recommend this option.
Over time a missing tooth that goes untreated can cause a number of issues. Most commonly, the adjacent and opposite teeth to the open gap begin to shift to fill in the empty space. The shift can cause an increased risk of decay and gum disease, change your ability to eat certain foods and how you chew or even affect your ability to speak. Studies have shown that your ability to chew decreases approximately 10% with each missing tooth.
In some cases, a missing tooth may lead to a loss of bone density within the jaw bone at the site of the missing tooth. Ultimately, this can affect your normal use of that side of your mouth, the length and angle of your jawline and your outward appearance. When the position of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is affeccted, it can also cause a pop/clicking in your jaw, pain or discomfort and headaches.
New to our office? We welcome new patients and look forward to providing you with dental care that is customized to your needs and lifestyle. Click here to learn more about what to expect during your first visit to our office.