If you have missing teeth, you might feel self-conscious or otherwise be eager to restore them. Unfortunately, once you reach adulthood, your teeth are permanent, and can’t be regrown naturally. However, you do have some options available to you so your teeth can be functionally and aesthetically replaced, such as dental implants, dentures, and more.
Your Primary Options
Because your teeth can’t be regrown, these are some of the best options available to you to restore or replace missing teeth.
- Dental implants. Dental implants in Philadelphia and other areas of the country are designed to replace your teeth as permanently and completely as possible. At the start of the procedure, the roots of your teeth will be fully removed (if necessary) and replaced with firm metal posts. These metal posts are designed to serve as a permanent foundation, allowing an artificial tooth to be placed. Once this tooth is in place, it can function just like a normal tooth and will look just like a normal tooth. As long as you brush and floss your dental implant with the rest of your teeth, it could conceivably last you forever. The only major downsides of the dental implant procedure are that it can be expensive and not everyone will qualify.
- A fixed dental bridge. If you’re missing one or more teeth in the same area, you may be a candidate for a fixed dental bridge. As the name suggests, this dental health device is designed to bridge a gap between your teeth caused by a missing tooth; it’s a dental prosthetic that functions just like your missing teeth, restoring functionality to that area of your mouth. This bridge is usually bonded into place with dental cement, making it permanent. Dental bridges are usually less expensive than dental implants, but they can make cleaning difficult and, if not fitted properly, they can damage adjoining teeth.
- Dentures. Another option is to use dentures – either as a full set or a partial set. Dentures are designed to mimic the look and feel of your teeth, and they’re totally removable. Your dentures will be customized to you, so they fit you appropriately, but they may still feel uncomfortable in your mouth. Dentures are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace, but they also require significant upkeep and maintenance – and you’ll need to remove them before sleeping.
How to Protect Your Teeth
It’s much easier to protect your existing teeth than to replace them when they’re gone. If you’re interested in proactively taking good care of your teeth so you don’t have to worry about replacing more missing teeth in the future, these are the best steps to take now:
- Brush and floss daily. This advice shouldn’t be new to you, but you should brush your teeth twice per day and floss at least once per day. Brushing and flossing have a combination of positive effects on your teeth, allowing you to disrupt the formation of bacteria colonies, provide enamel support with fluoride, remove food particles, and generally keep your mouth as clean as possible. This can reduce cavities and tooth decay significantly, allowing you to keep more of your teeth for a longer period of time.
- Rinse with mouthwash daily. Fluoride-based mouthwash has a cavity protective effect. Fluoride is added to most of our drinking water, and your toothpaste may have fluoride in it as well. Still, if you want as much robust cavity protection as possible, it pays to rinse with a fluoride mouthwash at least once per day.
- Visit regular dental checkups. Most dentists advise you to come in for a cleaning and checkup at least twice per year. Make sure to visit these checkups and talk to your dentist regularly. Not only will you get a deep, professional cleaning that can keep your teeth healthy, you’ll also be able to identify small issues before they become bigger problems.
- Take care of problems quickly. If you and your dentist do notice some problems with your teeth, try to take care of them proactively. Filling a cavity is much simpler and less expensive than fully removing a tooth and putting in a dental implant.
- Wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards and other protective equipment designed to protect your teeth and gums are important when playing contact sports (and most other sports). Teeth and jaws are more fragile than we think – and without a mouthguard, a single hit or fall could have disastrous repercussions.
It’s relatively easy to prevent tooth decay and tooth loss, but even with proper care, there’s a chance you could end up with missing teeth. But with so many options available for restoring those missing teeth, it’s probably only a matter of time before you can smile and eat like you did previously.