Losing your teeth can affect more than how you look and feel, as your speech and ability to eat can be affected. Losing even one tooth can lead to losing multiple, and increases the risk for damage to the rest of your teeth and gums. You may receive an implant for one missing tooth. However, for more than one in the same area of the mouth, a dental bridge is better for your oral health.
Have a missing tooth? This is something common all around the world. The United States has a lower number of people with missing teeth than many other countries of the world because of more available access to dental professionals. However, that is still an estimated 120 million Americans that have at least one missing tooth during their lifetime. Other studies suggest that at least 178 Americans have lost a tooth at some point due to dental decay. About 1/3rd of those people have lost all of their teeth. Losing teeth becomes more common with age, as the teeth are exposed to more damaging substances through the years along with wear and tear.
Many studies have been done about missing teeth. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reported that the average American between the ages of 20 and 64 only has 24 or 25 natural teeth left. Adults should have 32 total teeth unless the 4 wisdom teeth are removed (leaving a healthy smile at 28 teeth). Tooth decay (cavities), gum disease and dental injuries are the top reasons for losing your teeth. Gum disease alone affects more than 64.7 million adults, plus more than that if you count children. Tooth decay affects even more people and both conditions can affect a person at the same time. This can lead to quick tooth decay and tooth loss.
When you have missing teeth, you want to consider getting dental work done so that you don’t lose more teeth. Studies show that even missing a single tooth will raise your risk for losing more teeth. This is because the structure of your mouth is weaker in areas where you are missing a tooth. That can cause the adjacent teeth to become weaker as well as the area of the bone where there is no tooth. One lost tooth can start to become several lost teeth, and this happens much easier when tooth decay and gum disease are present.
When you’re missing one tooth, you’ll likely receive a dental implant. This is a custom-made tooth that we place in an area with one lost tooth. It generally involves the placement of a small screw in the jawbone, where the screw is then topped with a custom crown that looks like your natural tooth. In the case of several missing teeth in the same part of the mouth, a dental bridge is used.
A dental bridge is essentially a tooth bridge that fills the space of multiple missing teeth. On either end of this bridge, you have a dental implant. However, you don’t want to have a screw placed in every space that there is a missing tooth. When receiving a dental bridge, the dentist will provide a dental implant in two areas of the mouth. These implants will both be topped with a dental crown. Connecting the two implants together will be one or more other crowns. These crowns will be connected to the dental implants but will not have a dental implant themselves. The two implants on either end of the bridge will support the crowns in between. This makes a “bridge” between several missing teeth, which is why the device is called a “dental bridge”
Losing your teeth can affect more than how you look and feel about yourself. It changes the way you eat and talk, and increases the risk of damage to the rest of your teeth and gums. A dental bridge can help fill the gaps in your smile so that you reduce your risk of tooth loss and damaged gums. Patients who invest in a dental bridge have been shown to receive benefits to their health such as:
Trying to decide if you need a dental bridge? We suggest a dental bridge to patients when they have several teeth missing in the mouth, especially when those teeth are all in a row. You can significantly strengthen your mouth, feel more confidence in a complete smile and have better oral health with a dental bridge. To see how your oral health is doing, schedule a comprehensive exam. To learn about your own dental bridge procedure, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-8425!