Individuals who have a missing tooth may feel self-conscious about the gap in their smile but are not aware that there are options for replacing the tooth. Some might believe that a cosmetic restoration is too expensive, while others may feel it takes too much time to see a dentist and learn about options for replacing a lost tooth. However, understanding what might cause this issue, risk factors and replacement choices may make tooth replacement simpler.
Risk factors for tooth loss
Some individuals may be at a higher risk of tooth loss than others. For example, those who play rough contact sports, such as football and hockey, may have a tooth knocked out during a particularly intense game. Another factor that may increase the chances of losing a tooth is an illness, such as
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
All of these medical issues can advance tooth decay and erode enamel, which may lead to tooth loss. Individuals who take certain medications may also experience chronic dry mouth, which can contribute to early tooth decay. Fortunately, no matter the reason or risk factors for having a missing tooth, there are options to repair almost any smile.
The benefits of tooth replacement
There are several benefits to replacing a missing tooth, aside from the obvious cosmetic improvements. A new tooth can make chewing simpler, especially for those who have not been able to enjoy crunchy or chewy foods. Gaps left by missing teeth can alter speech, but a cosmetic implant or dentures can help restore normal speaking patterns. While some individuals may be concerned about the cost of having a tooth replaced, there are many budget-friendly options available, even for those who do not have dental insurance.
Replacement tooth choices
Individuals who want to learn how to replace a lost tooth may consider visiting a dentist who has experience with dental implants. These replacement teeth are a more permanent choice than a partial or full denture set and can be especially helpful if a front tooth is missing, as this can be much more noticeable than an absent molar or rear tooth. Implants require a number of steps, most of which do not require much preparation on the part of the patient once an initial exam and X-rays are completed.
Dental implants involve inserting a titanium screw into the jawbone at the location where the absent tooth once sat. Once the screw sets into the bone, a dentist will set the attachment, or abutment, to the screw, where the false tooth’s crown will be affixed. After the mouth heals, molds are usually made of the patient’s remaining teeth so that the new tooth will match them. The crown is usually made of porcelain and can last for years with proper care and cleaning. Those who choose dental implants may want to keep in mind that this type of tooth replacement may require several dental surgeries and can take up to six months or more to complete.
Having a missing tooth can make you hesitant to smile or speak. However, there are replacement options that could restore your confidence and appearance.
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