In order to make an informed decision on whether or not to replace missing teeth, we first need to understand and identify the functions of teeth.
Types of Teeth
We all have 4 types of teeth:
- Molars:- These are your ‘back teeth’ Molars are the largest of the teeth. They have a large biting surface and the function of these teeth are to chew, crush and grind the food. An adult has twelve molars on average.
- Pre-molars:- Also known as bicuspid. Just as the name premolars indicates, premolars are located immediately before the molars. They are regarded as transitional teeth and they work to guide food from the front of the mouth to the back towards the molars for chewing. Adults have 8 premolars on average.
- Canines:- The function of the canines are to grip and tear food. We have 4 canine teeth. Canine teeth can also ‘guide’ your bite into the correct position.
- Incisors:- The incisors are your ‘front teeth’ and used for cutting or shearing food into small chewable pieces.
So how do missing these teeth affect us?
Consequences of Leaving a Gap Behind
When all teeth are present, they work well as a team. Losing a tooth can often start a domino effect. Teeth have a tendency to move into the space in order to find a more stable position. This often leads to adjacent teeth to collapse into the space. Over time, a number of problems can occur to these teeth for such as dental decay and gum disease.
Losing a tooth can also cause the jaw-bone to shrink and change shape and position due to lack of stimulation, akin to a bodybuilder who stops working out. By the time you want to fix these problems and replace that missing tooth, the treatment can become more complex.
In the illustration above you can see the bottom tooth was taken out and over time we can clearly see the tooth behind the gap has tipped forwards and the one above has moved down and exposed its root.
So, you do need to replace missing teeth. Discuss with your dentist about the gap between teeth and the options that you have in relation to replacing teeth.
Missing several teeth can significantly change your jawline. Your bite can also change as jaw moves to compensate for the absent teeth putting more pressure on remaining teeth causing damage.
What can I do?
Here at Dentistry On Coolum, we offer a full range of teeth replacement options to suit your needs including dental implants, bridges and dentures.
- Dental implants are the most natural way to replace missing teeth. The implant is placed into the jaw-bone in a small procedure. Once the bone has integrated with the implant, the tooth can be constructed on top of the implant approximately 3 months later.
- A Bridge is an artificial tooth that is held by the adjacent teeth.
- A Denture is a set of artificial teeth that sits on top of your gum to replace a number of missing teeth.
Dentistry on Coolum on the Sunshine Coast
To discuss your situation and explore your different options to replace missing teeth, please give us a call on 07 5446 1616 for a consultation.
Author Dr Monil Gohil, Dentistry on Coolum