People are keeping there own teeth for much longer. In fact, unlike 30+ years ago, most patients can expect to retain most of their own teeth for the duration of their life. This is a big improvement which is due to dental education, better dietary habits and advances in dental technology and application.
Since most patients are retaining most of their teeth, when they have one missing tooth it can influence a number of factors in the mouth.
The problems associated with missing tooth spaces
In the picture below, this patient has recently had her premolar tooth removed.
In this situation, the patient’s remaining teeth are all perfectly healthy. Apart from the cosmetic issue of having a missing tooth, the main factors associated with leaving this missing tooth space are:
1 – A missing tooth space with neighbouring teeth can cause drifting of the teeth in the rest of arch. This will result in potential long term damage to many of your natural teeth and affect the appearance of your teeth.
2 – The opposing teeth directly above or below the missing tooth space is likely to drift gradually. We call this over eruption and this may result in loosening of your opposing tooth and also affect the cosmetic appearance of your teeth.
3 – Following removal of your tooth, some patients are vulnerable to severe bone loss (resorption) in the area of the missing tooth. This can result in long term gum recession which can also make it less likely that a future dental implant could be placed in this space to replace the tooth. For this reason we recommend replacing missing teeth as early as possible following the tooth removal.
The direct and indirect benefits of Dental Implants
When we consider replacing missing teeth for our patients, we need to consider how simply replacing a few teeth can help you retain the rest of your teeth. The benefits of having a dental implant in situations like the one below are difficult to quantify. It isn’t just the direct benefits of having a tooth again, it is also the indirect benefits of preventing future dental problems as well.
Our patient in the picture below is a prefect example of how a simple and effective dental implant replacement tooth can help the rest of her teeth continue to stay healthy, as well as maintaining her naturally aesthetic smile appearance.
Thank you for reading
Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)