All of your teeth have important jobs to do. If you lose a tooth to decay, gum disease or an accident, your dentist will recommend that you replace it as soon as possible.
Gaps in your smile don’t only affect your appearance. They can also cause problems with eating and speech and impact on your oral health and general health.
What causes tooth loss?
The average Australian adult has 5.1 missing teeth, ranging from 1.8 missing teeth for people aged 15-24 to 10.8 missing teeth for over-65s. Teeth can be lost for a number of reasons, including:
- Tooth decay – when bacteria is allowed to build up on your teeth, it forms a layer of plaque. This turns sugar and starch into acids that can wear down the hard enamel of your teeth, forming cavities and destroying the tooth’s structure.
- Gum disease – bacteria can also infect the gums, causing them to recede and expose the roots of your teeth. Plaque can destroy the supporting structures of teeth over time, causing them to loosen and fall out.
- Injury – teeth may be knocked out in an accident or so badly damaged that they need to be removed.
- Extraction – your dentist may also recommend tooth extraction to make space if your mouth is crowded or to prepare for orthodontic treatment.
What happens after you lose a tooth?
Your teeth rely on each other for support. When one goes missing, its neighbours sometimes start to shift into the gap and become crooked. This can make them more vulnerable to damage and harder to keep clean, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease as well as affecting your appearance.
Your teeth also support your gums and face. If several teeth are lost, this could cause your cheeks, lips or jaw to appear sunken or sagging, giving your face a prematurely aged look.
Missing teeth can also affect how your bite fits together. This can cause difficulty when eating or put strain on your jaw joints, leading to conditions such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
What’s the best way to replace a tooth?
If you’re missing one or more teeth, your dentist will discuss all the tooth replacement treatments they offer. They’ll also carry out a comprehensive oral health assessment and ask you about your medical and dental history, as this could affect your suitability for certain treatments.
If you only need to replace one tooth or several teeth in a row, a dental bridge could be an option. A bridge is an artificial tooth that’s fixed in your mouth, supported by the teeth on each side which are covered by strong crowns.
If you need to replace several teeth or all the teeth in your mouth, your dentist may recommend dentures. Full dentures replace a whole arch (row) of teeth, which may involve extractions if you still have some teeth remaining. Partial dentures can replace as many teeth as you need alongside your natural teeth.
Book a consultation for tooth replacement in Erskineville
To find out more about dentures, bridges and more options for replacing your teeth, talk to our friendly dentists at Sydney Park Dental in Erskineville.
Call us now on (02) 8084 7170 or contact us online to book an appointment at a time that suits you.
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2015 [Online] 2016 [Accessed May 2018] Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/dental-oral-health/oral-health-and-dental-care-in-australia-key-facts-and-figures-2015/