Tooth loss can be a result of a range of dental problems such as severe decay, periodontal disease, trauma or hypodontia (congenitally missing from birth). In many cases patients only lose one tooth and in these cases, treatment to replace this one tooth can have significant long term benefits to the overall dental health of the patient.
One missing tooth can result in drifting of adjacent teeth which can increase the risk of localised periodontal disease, spacing between teeth and and increased risk of further tooth loss. The opposing teeth around the missing tooth space can also over-erupt which may lead to the same problems described, leading to eventual tooth loss. Add to this the fact that a missing tooth can affect both the aesthetic appearance of one’s smile and the functional ability to chew, it is evident that replacing the one missing tooth can avoid more serious dental problems from developing in the future.
One missing tooth can lead to 2 missing teeth, 4 missing teeth and even more – the domino effect.
Upper premolar replaced with a dental implant
In this first example we treated this young lady to have her upper right 4 premolar replaced. The patient attended our clinic before any significant adverse effects had been created on the adjacent teeth. Our implant team were able to replace the missing tooth and also improve the health of her natural teeth. This ensured that the long term health of all of her teeth had been stabilised and the smile aesthetics were significantly improved.
Failing post crown with uneven gum line
In this second example the patient attended with a failing upper left 1 central incisor. This tooth has had repeated post crowns fitted by her existing dentist. This is one of the most common problems we find with post crowns on incisor teeth. Due to the fact that there is very little tooth left for a crown to be fitted, the patient’s dentist had to utilise the tooth root in order to provide a post crown that fitted onto this tooth. The result is to have a tooth that looks longer because the gum line has receded in this area. As can be seen from the picture, this results in poor aesthetics and complicates our ability to provide the patient with a symmetrical smile appearance.
The patient attended our clinic to have this failing tooth replaced with a dental implant. Her main concern was the asymmetry in her gum line and we provided careful gum re-contouring treatment to restore all of the gum levels back to a symmetrical position. This treatment requires careful precision work which our dental team are able to provide due to their vast experience and thorough treatment planning.
In both of these cases, a single tooth has been replaced with a permanent dental implant. The effect this has is to stabilise the patient’s long term dental health. It’s not always about aesthetics, it is also about prevention. Preventing the domino effect from occurring can be the key to minimising the risk of developing more significant dental problems in the future.
Thank you for reading
Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)