Missing Tooth

Have you ever carefully lined up dominos in a row? Knock one over and they all tumble down one by one. This also happens when you lose a tooth; one by one, the teeth around it are lost too.

Most tooth loss occurs from gum disease, extensive decay or a failed root canal. Our teeth are lined up so they touch each other on either side and are held in position by the opposing teeth. If you don’t replace a lost tooth, it will cause the teeth above and around it to move. This changes your bite and allows the surrounding teeth to tilt and shift into the space, putting the surrounding teeth at risk of being lost or broken as well.

Teeth can be replaced one of three ways: an implant, a bridge or a partial. An implant is a titanium screw placed in the jawbone and then a crown is screwed into it. For a bridge, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are crowned and a false tooth is attached between the two crowns and cemented over the teeth. A partial is made out of metal and acrylic, and the retainer teeth have divots prepped into them where the partial can rest.

Partials and bridges need to be replaced periodically, while an implant is part of the jawbone and can’t get a cavity. Long term, the implant is the better option financially.

For dental advice or routine care, make an appointment with Dr. Dawnie Kildoo at Legacy Smile of Southern Arizona, 520-625-0131.

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