Adults have a total of 32 permanent teeth, which includes four wisdom teeth that are typically removed in early adulthood, leaving the average adult with 28 teeth.
Different teeth have distinct uses. The front four teeth (incisors) have a sharp biting surface that is used to cut or shear food off into small, chewable sizes. On either side of the incisors is a single canine tooth (the cuspids), with a pointed biting surface to grip and tear food. Next to it are two premolars (bicuspids), which are used to tear and crush food. The largest teeth (molars) are located at the back of the mouth and are used to chew, crush, and grind food.
Impact of Tooth Loss
As we age, our teeth become worn and may be lost to accidents, disease, or decay. By the age of 50, the average American has lost 12 permanent teeth.
This not only affects the appearance of a person’s smile, but can result in bite abnormalities, and weaken the jawbone.
There are many reasons to replace lost teeth.
- Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift, creating unattractive gaps and uneven spacing between the teeth. Depending on how many teeth are missing and where they are located, it may even alter the shape of your face.
- Missing teeth can make it difficult to properly chew your food, leading to a host of secondary issues such as increased choking risk and jaw misalignment issues like temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder.
- When a tooth isn’t replaced, it can cause deterioration, infection, and pain in nearby bone and soft tissue. Bone loss in the jaw can in turn weaken neighboring teeth, causing the problem to spread even further.
Your Tooth-Replacement Options
The good news is that there are more natural-looking options than ever before to replace missing teeth. These include:
A dental implant involves surgically placing an artificial tooth directly into your jawbone. Your dentist will carefully examine the health and size of your jawbone to ensure there is enough bone present to successfully place the implant. During the procedure, a titanium screw will be placed into the jawbone, serving as a replacement tooth root to anchor a temporary crown. Once the implant and jawbone have successfully bonded and bone grows around the screw, a permanent crown will be placed on top, serving as the ultimate replacement for the missing tooth.
A bridge involves multiple artificial teeth fused onto a metal frame – the artificial teeth serve as replacements for the missing teeth.
A bridge must be “anchored” at both of its ends with either natural teeth or implant posts. Those anchor teeth will actually need be filed down to allow them to fit underneath the bridge. The larger a bridge is, the more natural teeth it requires to serve as its anchor.
A full or partial set of dentures can replace teeth when wear, tear, and decay are so rampant it’s easier to get dentures than save the natural teeth.
Dentures are typically made from a durable resin material and colored to look like natural teeth. Conventional dentures include an entire set of artificial upper and lower teeth that are fitted into your mouth following the removal of your teeth and after the jaw has healed from the tooth removal procedure.
Because dentures are held in place with suction and oral adhesives, activities such as eating and speaking may require a little practice.
If a patient is only missing a few teeth, partial dentures may be used. For example, partial dentures may consist of a plate with artificial teeth and clips so that it fits up against the roof of the mouth.
No matter if you have lost one tooth or many, there are plenty of options available to give you that perfect smile. Cosmetic dentistry has made stunning advances with regard to materials and techniques, and the results can be amazing.
The loss of your permanent teeth, however, is more than just a cosmetic concern – it can affect your overall health.
If you have a missing tooth or teeth, do not delay seeing a dentist otherwise it will just create more problems for you. The team at Dedicated Dental can replace missing teeth and give you back the confidence that comes with a great smile. Call (702) 566-5509 to schedule your appointment or request an appointment online.