Lost A Tooth

X-ray of Teeth Lost A Tooth

Lost a tooth? Read What Options Are Available

Our dental patients have a variety of options for replacing their missing teeth at Your Dentist Hawthorn!

All of us will remember losing a baby tooth. We all remember the wobbly days waiting for our first tooth to come out. Most of us have a story about Mum or Dad helping to pull it out, or sibling having a very extravagant method involving door handles and dental floss. Ouch! This is something that we don’t usually recommend! It’s perfectly normal to lose a baby tooth. As long as you don’t do it prematurely. Baby teeth serve the purpose of saving space for the adult teeth below it to emerge through the gums.

Adult teeth are another matter. We don’t get a new tooth like when we lose a baby tooth. When an adult tooth is lost, that’s it. To replace it means a trip to the dentist.

It is not wise to leave a missing tooth missing for very long. Even if the gap is not visible. That tooth served a purpose to assist in chewing. Without it, the biting forces it no longer provides are placed onto your remaining teeth which will cause them to breakdown sooner which creates a domino effect for the rest of your teeth. It will also cause bone loss in the area, which can lead to facial changes. The gap will also encourage teeth to move to fill that space over time. Losing a lower tooth means the partner tooth that it chewed with will start to over erupt into the lower space. Eventually you will lose that tooth too. The teeth either side of the missing tooth tend to collapse into the space too. We find if you lose a front tooth, most people want us to replace it….unless they follow Collingwood!


Lost Tooth? How Do I Prevent Losing Teeth? Missing Tooth And Replacement

We should all do our best to prevent losing teeth. It is obvious that you should brush and floss every day and make regular visits to the Your Dentist Hawthorn practice for both check-ups and dental hygiene. Wearing a mouthguard is highly recommended if you participate in contact sports. If you grind your teeth at night a nightguard is also highly recommended. Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks is also key to keeping your natural teeth.

When we lose teeth in these situations, we need to know what options are available. We will now look at three of the most common ways to replace missing teeth. As always, make an appointment with the dentists at Your Dentist Hawthorn so they can determine which option is best suited to you. Not all options are necessarily right for everyone.

Lost Tooth & Dentures

Dentures are a common sight, but they have evolved over the years. Dentures are now more comfortable and look natural. Some even flex to your mouth movements. The dentures are usually very affordable, and they don’t require any invasive treatments to wear. (We may have to extract an odd tooth, but we will talk to you about this if it is necessary). Dentures can be a good option for some people but are not without drawbacks.

Some people can get along with dentures. Others find them unsteady and uncomfortable. They can even cause problems when you speak or eat. While they don’t shoot out like they do in cartoons when you sneeze, they can still feel uncomfortable and cause discomfort because of the friction. Bone loss will also occur due to the lack of a tooth root replacement.

Dentures are taken in and out of the mouth. They don’t permanently stay. They must be taken out each night to be cleaned. They can attract bacteria if not cleaned regularly which, in your mouth is not the healthiest option.

It doesn’t matter how many teeth are missing to get a denture. A denture can replace one tooth, five teeth or all your missing teeth.


Lost Tooth & Dental Bridges

When there are teeth either side of a gap, a bridge can be used. The teeth either side must be prepared and shaped to hold a replacement tooth/teeth in place. This method has the advantage that it is more stable and stronger than dentures. The teeth remain in the mouth always and do not come out. To have a bridge made requires the shaping of the remaining side teeth and an impression that goes to a dental laboratory to have the bridge fabricated to fit into your mouth. Many patients, understandably, are reluctant to prepare healthy teeth. We usually recommend this option only if the teeth either side of the gap require a crown or have been previously restored with fillings. This way the side teeth are being made stronger than they were before. Patients who have healthy remaining teeth that are best left alone, but don’t wish to wear dentures can opt for a third option. This is becoming increasingly popular.

A bridge is a wonderful option to have a small number of teeth replaced 1-3 where the replacement teeth stay in the mouth. A dental bridge looks just like regular teeth, they feel the same as your natural teeth when you eat and chew. To care for them is the same as your natural teeth too. Just brush and floss every day and visit the dentist regularly.


Lost Tooth & Dental Implants

These are considered by many to be the “gold standard” of tooth replacement procedures. They replace not just the crown, but also the roots. They are stronger and more stable than other options.

While a dental implant is sometimes referred to as a full artificial tooth it is only the root. To replace the root of the tooth, a titanium screw-like pin will be placed in the jawbone. The actual implant is this part. It takes roughly six months to osseo-integrate. This means that the jawbone will grow around the implant and lock it in place. Once it has fused to the bone, it becomes a strong anchor on which the crown of the tooth can be placed.

Dental implants are the most expensive option, but they are also one of the best options for replacing a missing tooth. They are durable, aesthetically pleasing and last a long time. If you look after your implant and follow the instructions the dentist gives you (no smoking, keep it clean like your natural teeth, etc), you can expect your implant to last at least twenty years, and possibly even longer.

Your new dental implant allows you to eat any food without worrying about how it will affect the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be as strong and even stronger than a natural tooth. Dentures and bridges are more difficult to clean. You should only need to brush and floss regularly, as well as visit the dentist at Your Dentist Hawthorn in Melbourne every six months to monitor the implant and make sure it is kept hygienically clean. The dentist might like to x-ray the implant to ensure the bone supporting it is still healthy. As there is no nerve in the implant, you cannot feel hot and cold on that tooth.

We are happy to discuss the pros and cons with you so you can make an informed decision. Please call us to make an appointment for this or any other dental issue.