We’re the go-to dentists in Sussex for patients needing life-like prosthetics and restorative implant dentistry to renew and complete their smile.
However, patients need to know that replacing their missing teeth is more than just restoring the smile’s balance and aesthetics and that by ignoring gaps, several consequences await that cannot be reversed.
As restorative, prosthetic dentists who deal with complex missing teeth cases daily, we’ve seen first-hand the damage and havoc missing teeth can cause to wider oral health.
In as little as six months, we’ve seen several negative effects like bone loss develop, especially in cases where patients have lost their teeth to gum disease and decay.
But the negative effects don’t start and end with bone loss.
Edentulism, which refers to the loss of permanent teeth, leads to major changes that can contribute to a poorer quality of life, for example, impaired mastication, denture trauma, resorption, negative self-perception, speech and eating ability.
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We can replace missing teeth in several ways, but most of these treatments do not treat the underlying problems that tooth loss causes.
For example, prosthetics like bridges and dentures, whilst not valued for their aesthetic appeal, are to restore aesthetics and function. But they do not stop bone loss or facial sagging because there’s nothing there to support the bone.
Dental implants are mostly the pricey solution because they are truly a permanent solution to replace missing teeth – and even though aesthetics-wise they mimic natural teeth well, they actually function just like natural teeth would.
Dental implants are titanium screws implanted into the jawbone, preventing the bone in the area from breaking down, making them the only prosthetic on the market to preserve oral health and bone.
Almost all missing teeth patients experience bone loss
What people can’t see usually doesn’t phase them, but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t educate you on the importance of preserving your jawbone. Once bone begins to deplete or recede, it cannot return – it’s a permanent loss.
Bone loss (atrophy) and missing teeth can cause:
The only way to stop and reverse bone loss in the jaw
Some patients understandably don’t want to replace their missing teeth – at least not straight away, which might be down to finances or feeling like there’s no true need.
They’ll often consider dental implants later in life because they are an option. However, patients must know that conventional dental implant treatment might not be possible later down the line if they ignore missing teeth.
Dental implants need enough bone to anchor into, and without it, they will fail – and no reputable missing teeth dentist would place a dental implant when there’s not a good amount of bone to support it.
So, your only option later down the line is to undergo bone graft procedures to restore the bone, which will be an additional cost, an extra procedure and a longer healing period, which might mean you’ll have to wait up to 12 months to have an implant placed.
The only way you’ll be able to avoid a bone graft and receive implants is with advanced procedures like All-on-4, which treat total tooth loss and replace missing teeth the same day.
However, All-on-4 comes at a big cost – all of which you might have been able to avoid if you got dental implants way back when.