Missing Teeth and Problems Associated With It
A loss of tooth or teeth is one of the biggest dental problems that someone can face. The irony is that people consider loss of teeth to be very insignificant. But in reality loss of teeth can lead to not only cosmetic problems, but also functional problems and an unstable chewing mechanism.
Loss of teeth can lead to many problems. Some of them are:
- Supra eruption of opposing teeth
- Compromised efficiency of chewing
- Adjacent teeth might drift into the space created by missing teeth
- Food tend to accumulate between teeth, which have moved
- Food accumulation also leads to periodontal disease and caries
- A lopsided chewing pattern as there is loss of equilibrium in the mechanism of chewing
- The extracted area might reveal a loss of bone height
- Problems of the temporomandibular joints, like closed bite and TMJ osteoarthritis
- The existing functional teeth might lead to problems due to overload
- There are increased chances of cheek biting due to collapse of the cheek in the missing space, thus leading to functional and cosmetic problems
- The frequency of tongue biting and ulceration might increase in the area of missing teeth or tooth
When missing teeth are replaced, one can easily restore the healthy look of the teeth and also prevent any other dental problems which are due to the missing teeth.
While replacement of the missing teeth it is of utmost importance that the equilibrium is maintained with the distribution of the forces caused by chewing. Care is also taken that the cosmetic outlook is also maintained in the treatment.
Ideally the teeth when extracted or lost should be immediately replaced. This is because the replacement prevents the bone resorption or bone loss in the area and also retains the good bone. But a drawback is that such an immediate replacement might lead to limitation. Immediate treatment is usually done with the help of implants which easily fit in the sockets created by extraction. But even for this an analysis of the bone and gum health is necessary, thus leading to only a few instances for such replacements. Other alternative is that immediate removable dentures can be prepared and these can be replaced once the gums of the area have healed. The time period for this is usually 3 months. If these need to be fixed permanently then a waiting period of 3 months is mandatory for the settling and healing of the gums and bone of the area.
The 3 basic ways of fixing missing teeth are through implants, fixed bridgework (bridges and crowns) and dentures, which can be removed.