Tooth Loss / Missing Teeth

Why do people lose teeth?

Missing teeth can be both embarrassing and they can effect normal oral function.

There are a number of reasons why teeth either need to be removed or simply fall out. These can include tooth decay, advancing gum disease, accidents and inherited conditions or advanced wear and tear due to ageing. Teeth can also be congenitally missing, leaving spaces throughout the mouth, other causes may also be tooth loss as a result of serious infections such as failing root canal treatment.

Why is it important to replace missing teeth?

When teeth are lost, the bone underneath the gum shrinks due to lack of stimulation from the teeth – just as a muscle withers through lack of use. This shrinkage can lead to a huge change in facial appearance and the face can collapse through this lack of support. Teeth adjacent to spaces left by a missing tooth can tilt or drift leading to unevenness in the bite and appearance.

Removable dentures address this by using acrylic teeth to fill the spaces. Unfortunately, dentures can simply accelerate this shrinkage process. Similarly smaller spaces within the mouth are affected as well or example, missing front teeth has a dramatic effect on the appearance of the smile.

If you have missing teeth, your options might be:

• Removable Dentures
Although relatively inexpensive, this removable option often requires sticky adhesives and can sometimes fall out! They can also contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and further shrinkage of bone and gum.

• Adhesive Bridges
These use metal wings adhered to the back of teeth adjacent to gaps. Tooth cutting is therefore minimal or not required. Therefore they are very conservative but unfortunately they can become loose so are often regarded as a temporary solution for tooth loss.

• Conventional or Porcelain Bonded Bridges
This traditional replacement for missing teeth involves the teeth beside the gap being cut down and then crowns supporting the bridge cemented into place. Unfortunately, during the procedure it is often necessary to cut down healthy tooth structure. In addition the crowns supporting the bridge can become loose and lead to decay. This can be viewed as a considerable disadvantage.

• Dental Implants
Because dental implants support the bone and gum and are not attached to teeth in any way, they are the ideal tooth replacement. They create strong, permanent natural looking teeth.

Dental implants can be used for:

single teeth replacement
• replacing many teeth, including full mouth replacement

They can also be used in conjunction with regenerative techniques such as bone grafting. The latest techniques in which Bath Spa Dentistry has particular experience is immediate implants, ‘Same Day Teeth’ and Guided Surgery.

Read more about Dental Implants.