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Is It Too Late to Replace My Missing Tooth?

Dentist with a model of a dental implant to replace a missing tooth.

Addressing a missing tooth as soon as possible is more important than you might think. Replacing a missing tooth quickly can avoid a host of dental and orthodontic issues that may result from losing a tooth.

But is it ever too late to replace a missing tooth? Luckily, modern dental treatments offer many options to consider. It is certainly never too late to talk to your dentist about which options are available to you.

Why Treat a Missing Tooth ASAP

Even if you waited to treat a missing tooth, you will likely still have options, but getting treatment early can prevent additional dental problems. While it may seem that missing “just one tooth” is not a big deal, all of your teeth work together to maintain the structure of your mouth.

If a tooth is missing and is not addressed, the jaw in which the root of the tooth sat may degenerate from lack of use. Other surrounding teeth may shift out of place due to the gap left by your missing tooth. In addition, this compromise to the structure of your mouth can result in a higher likelihood of periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Unfortunately, bone loss may become a factor in determining whether you are a candidate for a dental implant. Furthermore, other treatment options such as bridges require that the adjacent teeth be able to support the tooth replacement. The sooner you treat your missing tooth, the more options that may be available to you.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are often a highly desirable treatment for a tooth that is completely lost or where there is not enough structure remaining to support a crown. Dental implants are surgically placed into the bone of your jaw using a titanium screw. Your bone will grow around the implant and fuse with it, creating a very strong foundation for a crown.

The crown placed on your implant will look, act, and feel just like a natural tooth. Once implanted, your new tooth will help the rest of your teeth and jaw support the structure of your face, jaw, and remaining teeth, preventing additional bone loss, crooked teeth, and sunken cheeks.

In order to place an implant, there must be enough healthy bone to support the procedure, and your gums must be free of disease. If too much bone loss has occurred, it may be challenging to place an implant. The good news is that preparatory measures may be available to make success more likely. Before moving forward with treatment, deep cleaning, periodontal treatment, or a bone graft might be necessary.

Crowns and Bridges

If an implant is not an option for you, crowns and bridges might be. A single crown is simply a cap that is affixed to your tooth. This treatment only works if there is some tooth structure remaining. A bridge, on the other hand, is a replacement tooth (called a pontic) or teeth that are anchored by crowns on the surrounding teeth.

Like implants, crowns and bridges are designed to look and function like your natural teeth. You care for them in much the same way as well.

Partial or Full Denture

If you are missing several teeth, we may recommend a full or partial denture. Do not confuse modern dentures with the old-fashioned variety you might be familiar with. New technology assures that today’s denture treatments are fabricated for maximum comfort and stability. Tompkins Dental offers state-of-the-art custom dentures or partial dentures to give you the confidence you want in your replacement teeth.

We also offer specialized types of dentures. All-on-4 is a permanent denture system that is secured with implant technology. Another possibility is snap-on dentures, which are a similar concept but are removable for cleaning.

Which Treatment is Right for You?

We offer a wide range of replacement options depending on patient needs and preferences. With modern treatment options, it is never too late to address a missing tooth. Of course, because your smile can be affected by how long a missing tooth goes untreated, sooner is always better than later. Schedule a consultation today to see what options are available for you.  



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