Missing teeth are a common dental issue resulting from various factors, including dental decay, injuries, gum disease, or genetic conditions preventing certain teeth from developing. These gaps in your smile can affect your ability to eat and speak and lead to neighboring teeth shifting into empty spaces.
At Black Point Dental in Honolulu, HI, our team will work with you to determine the best treatment option for your missing teeth.
Tooth decay primarily contributes to tooth loss. It results from a combination of food residues, saliva, and bacteria. A sticky substance known as plaque clings to the teeth, and if not eliminated through consistent brushing and flossing, it can solidify into tartar.
The buildup of tartar and plaque can cause gum irritation and tooth decay. Often termed a cavity, tooth decay can progress into a dental abscess or infection if not addressed promptly.
Various factors can contribute to plaque buildup, including:
Certain individuals are born lacking specific teeth due to genetic factors such as hypodontia. The most frequently absent teeth in these cases include wisdom teeth, upper lateral incisors, and second premolars. This condition might also result in an underdeveloped jawbone.
Hypodontia is a hereditary condition that leads to dental underdevelopment, resulting in absent teeth. This condition affects approximately 8% of the overall population.
In some instances, children may develop hypodontia following exposure to radiation or chemotherapy during their tooth formation stage. Nevertheless, anyone can be born with this condition.
The most prevalent indication of hypodontia is being born without certain teeth. Individuals with this condition might also exhibit large gaps between teeth or teeth that are smaller than average. Hypodontia may be an indicator of other genetic disorders, such as ectodermal dysplasia.
While anyone can be born with hypodontia, the primary cause of its development is family medical history. Hypodontia can also occur in conjunction with other conditions or genetic disorders, including:
Dr. Ferguson will assess your medical history and oral condition during your consultation. If he suspects hypodontia, he will conduct X-rays and the necessary medical examinations to confirm the diagnosis.
Missing teeth can not only affect your appearance but also lead to oral health issues. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a variety of treatments to replace missing teeth, including dental bridges, dental implants, and dentures.
Dental bridges are a popular treatment option for individuals missing one or more teeth. A bridge consists of a false tooth, called a pontic, that is held in place by adjacent teeth, called abutments. The abutment teeth are typically modified to support crowns that anchor the pontic.
There are several types of dental bridges, including traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported bridges. Your dentist will determine the most suitable bridge type based on your individual needs and oral health.
Dental implants are a more permanent solution for missing teeth, as they replace both the tooth root and the visible part of the tooth (crown). A dental implant consists of a titanium post that is surgically implanted into the jawbone, an abutment that connects the post to the crown, and a custom-made crown that matches the appearance of the patient's natural teeth.
Dental implants offer several benefits, including improved appearance, increased stability, and the prevention of bone loss in the jaw. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implants, as they require a sufficient amount of healthy jawbone for successful placement.
Dentures are another option for individuals with missing teeth, particularly for those who have lost multiple teeth or all of their teeth. Dentures are removable appliances that can replace a few missing teeth (partial dentures) or an entire arch of teeth (complete dentures).
Dentures consist of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored base, which is supported by the patient's gums and sometimes held in place with metal clasps or dental adhesives. Dentures can improve a patient's ability to eat and speak, as well as enhance their appearance.
However, they may require periodic adjustments or replacements due to changes in the jawbone and gum tissue over time.
If you don't replace missing teeth, several dental and overall health issues may arise over time:
To avoid these issues, it's essential to consult with a dentist who can recommend suitable tooth replacement options, such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures.
To prevent tooth loss, follow these essential steps:
By following these measures, you can help maintain your oral health and prevent tooth loss.
At Black Point Dental, we treat a wide range of dental issues, including missing teeth.
Dr. Patrick Ferguson is a member of the Hawaii Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the American Board of Oral Implantology. Black Point Dental offers comprehensive periodontal treatment for your dental procedures.