For children, losing teeth is a milestone and a cause for celebration. Losing teeth as an adult, though, is less welcome. In fact, it is a cause for significant concern. Missing teeth not only affects your appearance, but can also be harmful to your health. Thankfully, there are affordable tooth replacement options that can protect you from pain, additional dental health issues, and even permanent bone loss.
Penn Dental Medicine offers a unique prosthodontics program. Our team of specialty dentists is focused on repairing broken, chipped, or otherwise damaged teeth, as well as offering affordable tooth replacement options that can preserve your smile and your well-being.
If you lose one of your permanent teeth, especially in the back of your mouth where it isn’t immediately obvious, you may be tempted to live with the gap rather than replace the tooth.
However, that choice will be detrimental to your overall well-being and quality of life. Consider some of the effects of missing teeth:
Difficulty speaking and eating. Lost teeth can make it difficult or impossible to properly chew certain foods, limiting your choices. Your teeth are also important to speaking clearly, and losing one or more can change your speech patterns or make it difficult to talk.
Infection. A gap where a tooth is missing is the ideal place for bacteria to build up, which can eventually cause an infection that can damage gum tissue and adjacent teeth.
Damage to other teeth. When you lose a tooth, your other teeth may wear down more quickly because they have to do more to make up for the missing tooth. This is especially problematic when you lose back teeth, which requires your front teeth to do more chewing. Because the front teeth aren’t designed for that level of stress, they experience more wear and tear, putting them at risk of damage — or even falling out.
Misalignment. When a lost tooth isn’t replaced, the remaining teeth may shift into the gap. Eventually, this can cause misalignment. This in turn can lead to pain, bite problems, and further tooth damage.
Bone loss. Losing a tooth and not replacing it can actually change the bone structure in your face. Over time, the bone that surrounds the empty tooth socket can start to deteriorate, causing changes to the shape of your mouth. Without the support of the bone, the muscles in your face can droop as well. This creates the “sunken” appearance associated with tooth loss.
Because missing one or more teeth isn’t only a cosmetic issue, having it replaced should be a priority. Penn Dental Medicine prosthodontists will work with you to determine the best tooth replacement option that fits your budget, and helps you maintain a healthy smile.
Crowns. Dental crowns are a simple prosthetic tooth that is placed over an existing tooth that has been damaged by decay or injury, but the root is still intact. A crown may be necessary after a root canal, for example, when decay damages a significant portion of the tooth. Crowns can be made to look like your natural teeth,and help support the surrounding teeth.
Dental bridges. Bridges fill in the gaps left by missing teeth with a false tooth or teeth connected to the adjacent teeth on either side with crowns. Bridges may also be held in place on one side, by metal or porcelain abutments attached to the two adjacent teeth (a Maryland bridge), or by dental implants.
Dental implants. Implants look and feel like natural teeth. The post is surgically implanted into the jawbone, then topped with a prosthetic tooth (denture or crown.)
Dentures. If you have multiple missing teeth, your prosthodontist may recommend dentures, a full or partial set of false teeth.
Depending on how many teeth you have lost, your overall dental health, and other factors, your Penn Dental Medicine prosthodontist may recommend a hybrid approach that combines several different tooth replacement options. We use state-of-the-art technology to create affordable tooth replacements that are custom fit down to the microscopic level. You can feel confident that any tooth replacement will be comfortable, fit precisely, and be durable over time.
If you have missing teeth, don’t let concerns about the cost of dental care keep you from seeing a prosthodontist to explore your options. It may be possible to replace a missing tooth cheaper than you expect. To learn more about prosthodontics and Penn Dental’s full array of specialties for comprehensive dental care, download the complimentary “Comprehensive Care and You: Penn Dental Medicine’s Dental Services” guide.
You can also make an appointment with a Penn Dental prosthodontist online or by calling 215-898-8965, and start your journey toward a healthy smile.