Why replacing missing teeth can help keep your mouth healthy

If you’ve lost a tooth or teeth then you may be looking into options to replace them with either a temporary or permanent solution.

I recently had braces for over two years and then I was hoping to have dental implants.  I didn’t originally have missing teeth with gaps, but I still had three baby teeth in my mouth and a random peg tooth!

To get my perfect smile once my teeth were straightened I had three teeth removed as they were just so small.  My baby teeth were also getting a little wobbly so they could have fallen out anyway!

Unfortunately due to the position of my roots I didn’t qualify for dental implants which was such a shame.  I had to opt for two traditional bridges instead.  These look amazing and my cosmetic dentist did an incredible job, but they’re definitely not as good as being able to have implants.

How do dental implants and bridges improve the health of your mouth?

Victoria Sully February 2019 (4.jpgMy new smile after train track braces, two bridges, bonding and permanent retainers!

When you have teeth missing it can affect more than just the look of your smile.  The gap itself can make you feel less confident and cause anxiety and stress in social situations.  But it’s not just about your cosmetic appearance as missing teeth can also affect your bite, gums and even facial structure causing problems over time.

Here are some of the ways dental implants or bridges can help keep your mouth healthy:

  • Maintain your correct bite – if you leave a missing tooth then the surrounding teeth might move into the gap or shift in position causing your bite, chewing and smile to change. Now your teeth are not in proper alignment you might get more problems such as wear and tear on the other teeth leading to future problems.  A dental implant or bridge will not only keep your teeth looking the same, but will ensure your bite doesn’t change and other teeth don’t move into the gap.
  • Prevent gum disease – Now you have a tooth missing you have more gum exposed to food, saliva and bacteria that was previously hidden by the tooth. This means you have increased risk of getting gum disease which can lead to more lost teeth.  Replacing a missing tooth with an implant ensures the gum is covered once more by a tooth and isn’t exposed to the elements.
  • Prevent decay – Now you have a missing tooth, the sides of the surrounding teeth are also exposed and at risk of tartar, plaque and decay. An implant will prevent the sides of your other teeth from being exposed.
  • Retain bone structure in the jaw – if you have a few teeth missing then your jaw bone can lose density as because it has no teeth there to support anymore, it stops producing tissue to keep the bone healthy and strong. Not only does this weaken the jaw bone, but it can change your face shape and structure.

Here are some of the other ways dental implants or bridges can benefit you too:

  • Improved appearance
  • More confidence
  • Better self-esteem

This all helps to improve the quality of your life and overall well-being. If you have missing teeth then implants should definitely be considered to protect the healthiness of your mouth and improve your overall happiness, especially if the missing teeth are affecting you mentally as well as physically.

Dental implants offer a permanent solution to maintain the health of your mouth

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Dental implants are considered a permanent solution for missing teeth. This is excellent news if you have lost any of your teeth because of an incident, gum disease, or tooth decay. Implant options can be a more sustainable alternative to dentures and bridges which don’t last forever, making you feel much better about your appearance over the longer term.  If cared for properly then they can last the rest of your life!

Essentially, a dental implant is a titanium screw which replaces the root of the old tooth and can then be used as a substitute for your own tooth. It works by fusing the bone to the screw in an entirely natural process so that it gives a more natural look than other forms of cosmetic dentistry.

If you talk to your dentist about the alternatives to implants when you want to fix your smile, they will most likely mention dentures and bridges. Because dentures are a foreign object in the mouth, you are very aware that you’re wearing false teeth.

Whilst I had all my dental work going on I had some dentures made.  They were awful!  I couldn’t speak or eat with them in.  Trying to eat with them in made me gag as there is a plate over the roof of the mouth and it’s impossible to swallow normally.  I only wore mine a handful of times and decided I couldn’t get along with dentures at all.  They also didn’t look natural whatsoever.

For both the old and the young, dentures can cause self-esteem issues. In addition to this, dentures need to be removed and cleaned, plus they cause discomfort over time.

For bridges, the issues are slightly different. It involves shaving down healthy teeth in order to make room for a cap or a crown over the missing tooth.  A good cosmetic dentist will be able to make the teeth look very natural and realistic, but they still don’t offer a permanent solution.  Mine are only guaranteed for five years and they cost £3200 with a private dentist.  That’s a lot of money if they do need replacing every five years, but hopefully they’ll last more like 10-20 years providing I look after them properly.

However, if you’re searching for longer-lasting and the most aesthetically pleasing alternatives to gaps in your mouth then dental implants could be the solution to your problem.

Are implants painful?

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Although you might not think it, placing an implant into your mouth can apparently be much easier than extracting a tooth. If you’ve lost teeth via decay, disease or accident, it’s said that implant procedures can cause you much less discomfort than those issues did.  I find this surprising, but who knows.  My bridge experience definitely wasn’t for the faint hearted, but after two+ years of braces and people fiddling in my mouth I was used to it!

You’ll be given a local anaesthetic so you won’t feel pain during the procedure, although you’ll probably have a little discomfort afterward.  If you’re concerned about pain levels, have an open conversation with your dentist about it and they will hopefully be able to put your mind at rest. Perhaps what you need to do is weigh up the potential mild physical pain of having dental implants compared to the emotional pain you might be hanging onto if you don’t have implants.

Missing teeth, especially when it’s down to personal neglect of your own dental health, can be humiliating in a day-to-day setting. It can massively affect your self-esteem and you have to personally decide whether dental implants are going to be worth the effort and cost in order to restore your confidence in your appearance.   Not only that, but they can help to keep the rest of your teeth and mouth healthy to prevent any future health problems a missing tooth could cause.

If you’re interested in my own personal braces and cosmetic dentistry experience then I share the whole journey from first appointment to completion here: My braces at 30 and cosmetic dentistry experience

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