I'm Missing Teeth: What Are My Dental Treatment Options?
Wondering what went wrong to cause you to lose your teeth? Want an amazing replacement for your teeth that will give you the best possible smile, stability, and support?
You're not alone. Many people have experienced tooth loss and speak with dental care professionals for suggestions on their treatment options. My dental practice in Orland Park, IL, has different methods for treating tooth loss that can be adapted to your needs.
Read on to find out the root factors of tooth loss and how I can fill in the gaps left by your missing teeth.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
I’ve often talked to patients who feel incredibly embarrassed about their missing teeth. Sometimes, they feel like they are the only person in the world struggling with this issue. The truth is, there are several causes of tooth loss that afflict a vast amount of dental patients around the globe.
Gum disease, which we dentists refer to as periodontitis, refers to the existence of bacteria, plaque, and tartar that causes infection and inflammation under the gumline. When gum disease is left untreated, it compromises the teeth in your mouth.
Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. This decay happens when bacteria is allowed to build up in your mouth, resulting in the release of acids that gradually break down your teeth. In addition to oral pain and enamel damage, this acid can cause you to entirely lose a tooth.
While the above two causes may be attributed to not maintaining ideal oral health, some causes of tooth loss are totally out of a patient’s control. I’ve seen plenty of patients come into my Orland Park office with sudden tooth loss caused by accidents while playing sports, eating the wrong foods, and more.
Genetic Factors May Be At Play
Some people are simple born with a missing tooth, causing them to suffer from what is known as hypodontia.
Missing one to six teeth as a result of hypodontia can be an inherited birth defect or it can be a result of infections, illnesses, or medical treatments a child underwent during their tooth development phase. In addition to the several missing teeth hypodontia patients have, other teeth can also be unnaturally shaped or smaller than ideal.
While this condition is genetic, you do not have to suffer from a lifetime of missing teeth through no fault of your own.
Why Treat Tooth Loss?
There are a few compelling reasons why I recommend restorative dentistry procedures for missing teeth.
Missing Teeth Compromise Your Appearance and Oral Health
The jawbone atrophy caused by tooth loss can be immensely damaging. To make matters worse, missing some teeth can endanger others in your mouth.
These are some of the many issues that you may be faced with if you do not replace your missing teeth:
- Sunken, overly-aged face
- Wrinkles around the mouth
- Shifting and loosening of remaining teeth
- Headaches and facial pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Increased vulnerability to gum disease
Tooth Loss Can Also Cause Poor Nutrition
On top of conditions that can be caused directly by tooth loss, there are downstream effects as a result of the behaviors those with missing teeth are often forced to undertake. For example, patients who are missing most or all of their teeth tend to eat less healthy diets as a result of their limited dental function.
This leads them to eat too much food filled with saturated fats and cholesterol while not eating enough fruits or vegetables. As a consequence, patients without teeth may end up dealing with further problems like increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Replace Your Teeth With Dental Implants
A dental implant is a titanium tooth root that is surgically embedded into the jaw to replace the lost natural tooth root. The implant is connected to a piece known as an abutment, which sets the stage for whichever restoration you choose to top your implant with.
While the restorations an implant supports may need replacing after some years, the dental implant itself will last the rest of your life with proper care.
When patients are interested in dental implants but worried about their cost, I always stress that a tooth replacement lasts a lifetime and is a priceless investment.
Implants Support Several Restorations
The implants I offer provide an incredibly powerful foundation that offers unrivaled stability and support for three different types of dental restorations.
Depending on your needs, you can request:
A single missing tooth anywhere in your mouth can be restored and replaced with an implant-supported crown.
A crown is an incredibly durable restoration that covers every part of the implant, allowing the implant and crown to look and function just like a natural tooth.
If you have multiple consecutive missing teeth (think three in a row), you can receive an implant-supported bridge to fill in that entire gap.
In addition to restoring your smile and supporting your facial structure, your bridge will prevent existing natural teeth from shifting.
Dentures are a famous dental procedure for a reason: dentures can effectively replace an entire arch of missing teeth. The issues with dentures are also infamous for many reasons, as these restorations are prone to sliding and slippage, which can make them uncomfortable and ineffective at times.
Implant-supported dentures, though, avoid these concerns by remaining permanently fixed in your mouth. These dentures can be anchored in a traditional manner or may use the All-on-4® implant technique depending on your needs.
Meet With a Dental Implant Expert
Contact Us in Orland Park, IL
Receiving dental implants and the restorations they support can restore your ability to smile with confidence. Just as important, the procedure creates a crucial stopgap to prevent further issues from spiraling as a result of your tooth loss.
Whether you have just a single tooth to replace or you need to receive implants and restorations that restore your entire mouth, our Orland Park, IL, team has the solutions you need. Contact us to schedule your implant appointment, during which I will recommend the best strategy for your smile.
About Yamen Akhras, DDS
Dr. Yamen Akhras completed training in dental implants from the Misch Institute and the Urban Regeneration Institute. He specializes in treating gum disease, placing implants, and bone and gum grafting.