Missing Tooth FAQs

missing tooth McLean, VA

Whether you have always had a missing tooth, are preparing to have a tooth removed or need to know what to do after losing one due to injury, chances are good that you have some questions. A missing tooth is a fairly common issue, and staying informed can help with formulating a plan to resolve the situation and return to normal. 

What causes missing teeth?

According to the American College of Prosthodontics, there are three common causes of missing teeth.

Genetic conditions

Sometimes, people are born with some of their teeth missing. When the missing teeth are due to genetics, the trait is usually seen in multiple family members. It is possible to be born without any particular tooth due to genetics, but this condition more commonly affects certain teeth:

  • Upper lateral incisors (the teeth on either side of the front teeth)
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Second premolars (either on the upper or lower jaw)

Tooth decay  

Often, tooth decay starts with a cavity. When a dental cavity is not treated quickly, bacteria continue to eat their way deeper into the tooth. A very decayed tooth can sometimes be effectively treated with a root canal. In severe cases, the tooth may be too decayed to save, and the entire tooth will need to be removed.

Gum disease

A missing tooth can sometimes be caused by gum disease. Gum disease makes the bone in the jaw deteriorate. When that deterioration is significant, it can result in tooth loss.

How can a missing tooth be treated?

A missing tooth often impacts someone's smile. Even if the missing tooth is farther back in the mouth, it may cause issues with chewing or even with facial structure. The American Dental Association recommends three procedures for replacing missing teeth. 

Implants

Placing an implant is usually a multistep surgical procedure, but the end result is the most similar to a natural tooth. First, a metal rod (usually titanium) is placed in the jaw. It acts as a replacement tooth root. Then a crown is attached. These artificial teeth are made to match the other teeth in a patient’s mouth. 

Fixed bridges

This solution also takes multiple steps. It uses two existing teeth to support a replacement tooth. A dentist or oral surgeon prepares two teeth on either side of the missing tooth, which usually involves shaping them to support crowns. The crowns are placed over the prepared teeth, and then an artificial tooth, called a pontic, is fused to both. This solution helps patients avoid having an implant placed.  

Removable partial dentures

These dentures are typically made of high-quality plastic. They clip onto existing teeth, and they can be removed for cleaning. Usually, dentists recommend that patients do not wear removable partial dentures all day; they are often taken out when patients go to sleep and then replaced in the morning.

Conclusion

Dealing with a missing tooth can be challenging, but a dental professional can help patients decide on the appropriate course of treatment. A quality replacement tooth allows patients to quickly regain a natural, beautiful smile.

Request an appointment here: https://www.oaktreefamilydental.com or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

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