Should I Replace My Missing Teeth?

Should I Replace My Missing Teeth?

You could lose teeth in an accident, from gum disease, or extensive decay. Certain medications, diseases, and poor nutrition can also lead to tooth loss. If you lose a tooth, you may question if you should replace it. Deciding on tooth replacements requires careful consideration. While your budget is a major factor, you should consider the benefits and the potential complications of not replacing them.

In this blog, we’ll discuss why you should replace your missing teeth, your options for replacement, and what could happen if you choose not to replace the teeth that you’ve lost. Read on and get all the details you need.

Why Replace Missing Teeth

Your teeth are necessary for you to chew and speak normally. Proper nutrition includes a variety of foods, which you need your teeth to chew and grind. By replacing missing teeth, you’ll be able to eat all the foods you love and get all the nutrition you need. 

Your teeth are an important part of your mouth. They don’t just help you eat, but are also an important part of your appearance, speech, and overall facial structure.

Many people may not realize that their teeth help them speak clearly. The tongue and teeth work together to help you pronounce sounds effectively. When you have all your teeth, you avoid speaking with a lisp and mumbling. 

Replacing missing teeth also allows you to smile with confidence. From job interviews to first dates, you’ll be able to make a great first impression. Additionally, replacing missing teeth prevents oral health issues, like deterioration of the jaw bone and gums.

Even if you’ve lost just one or two missing teeth, you should have them replaced as soon as possible. Depending on your situation, there may be a few different options available for replacing your teeth, so let’s discuss them now.

Understanding Your Options for Replacing Missing Teeth

There are three popular options for replacing your missing teeth: dentures, bridges, or dental implants. Each one has pros and cons.

Dentures, for instance, are inexpensive. You can replace just a few teeth with a partial denture or all your teeth with full dentures. Moreover, a dentist will custom-fit your dentures to your mouth. However, dentures need to be replaced every 5-7 years. They also require cleaning and maintenance and take some getting used to. 

Both full and partial dentures are available at our office. Full dentures are used to replace a full arch of lower or upper teeth. Partial dentures are a bit different. They clip onto your remaining healthy teeth, replacing one or more missing teeth. Dentures are cost-effective and are typically covered by insurance, though some patients find them to be a bit inconvenient.

Dental bridges consist of a pontic (a false tooth) and crowns. The pontic attaches to the dental crowns, which are placed on healthy adjacent teeth, literally bridging the gap where your missing tooth once was. A bridge requires healthy teeth near the gap to place the crowns. Bridges are also durable and long-lasting, and they don’t need to be removed, unlike dentures. Bridges are usually inexpensive and may be covered by insurance, but they will need to be replaced eventually as resorption of the jaw bone beneath may take place. 

Dental implants look and feel just like a natural tooth. This restoration enables fewer food restrictions and almost no changes to lifestyle. Dental implants can replace one, several, or all of your teeth and last longer than both dentures and bridges. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. Implants, however, are the most expensive of all the tooth replacement options. 

They use a screw-shaped piece of titanium, which is permanently implanted into your gums and jaw. This piece of metal functions like an artificial tooth root. Once it heals, your dentist will create a false tooth out of porcelain and attach it to the implant. Although they are more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, implants look and feel more natural and usually last 30+ years.

Potential Consequences of Not Replacing Missing Teeth

Still not convinced that you should replace your missing teeth? Here are just a few of the problems that may occur if you don’t have your lost teeth replaced by a dentist.

  • Difficulty eating your favorite foods – Losing one or more teeth makes it harder to bite into hard foods, or to chew fibrous and crunchy foods. You may not be able to eat the foods you love or get all the nutrition you need. Ultimately, this could cause a nutrition deficit. If you choose to chew on only one side of your mouth, you could develop facial asymmetry. This bad habit can also contribute to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
  • Self-consciousness around others – Missing teeth may make you feel embarrassed about your smile and appearance. They can also interfere with proper speech. Losing a front tooth, for example, may cause you to speak with a lisp. While you can speak without some of your teeth, missing teeth can affect your speech and possibly cause a lisp or cause mumbling. You may begin to mispronounce certain sounds. You might feel self-conscious and smile less often when you don’t have all of your teeth, which can negatively impact your mental health.
  • Shifting teeth – When you lose a tooth, the nearby teeth try to move toward the gap. This can ruin the alignment of your teeth. This affects your appearance, and also can negatively impact your oral health by making it harder to clean your mouth properly. Your teeth hold each other in place. Without all of your teeth, your other teeth may shift from their original positions. This could lead to bite problems and other oral health issues, like gum disease and tooth decay.  
  • Changes in facial structure – If you lose teeth, the underlying jaw bone will weaken and deteriorate. This can lead to a “sunken” appearance over time. Replacing your missing teeth with dental implants is the only way to prevent this and preserve your facial structure.

Contact Shook Family Dental For A Consultation In Eau Claire

Need to replace your missing teeth? Not sure which type of tooth replacement may be right for you? We're here to help.

For most people, replacing missing teeth is the right decision. You’ll feel better knowing you can smile confidently. You’ll also improve functionality by regaining the ability to eat what you want and speak clearly. At Shook Family Dental, we offer financing options to help you pay for the treatment that’s right for you. Plus, dental insurance usually covers a portion of certain tooth replacement options. The only way you’ll know if tooth replacement is right for you is by scheduling a consultation with our team to discuss your options. Call us today at ​​(715) 955-4401 to schedule your visit.