Did you know that not everyone with a missing permanent tooth has a gap in their smile due to tooth decay or an injury? Some people are just born without one or several teeth. In fact, according to the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias, approximately 20 percent of adults are missing one or two teeth congenitally! Missing teeth can lead to a range of dental and overall health problems, so it is important for individuals with missing teeth to seek restorative dental treatment. Why are teeth missing? And how can they be replaced? Let’s take a look.
What Are Congenitally Missing Teeth?
Congenitally missing teeth are teeth that never appear and are not trapped in the gums – they just do not exist in some people! The condition, which usually affects the lateral incisors and the second premolars, is often a harmless genetic trait passed down from parents to their children. However, other genetic conditions that can cause missing teeth include:
- Down syndrome
- Ectodermal dysplasia
- Cleft lip and palate
How to Replace Missing Teeth
The three most common procedures to replace missing teeth include partial or full dentures, bridges and dental implants. Here is a brief overview of each option:
- Dentures – Artificial teeth and gums that are typically made from a hard resin and held in place in the mouth through natural suction forces.
- Dental bridge – Utilized to replace one to three consecutive missing teeth. Bridges are made up of custom-made crowns placed on either side of a permanent false tooth and remain in place by attaching to adjacent natural teeth.
- Dental implant – A small titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. The titanium implant fuses with the natural bone through a process called osseointegration to provide a sturdy base for a crown or other dental prosthetic.
The Advantages of Dental Implants
A popular and effective tooth replacement solution, dental implants offer a number of advantages compared to other restorative treatments, such as:
- Natural Feel – As the only restorative treatment that replaces both the visible portion of the tooth and the root structure, dental implants feel the most like natural teeth.
- No Slippage – Unlike dentures, you will never have to worry about dental implants slipping in your mouth.
- Chewing Power – You can confidently bite into all your favorite foods when you have dental implants.
- Aesthetically Appealing – Dental implants are custom-designed to blend in with your unique smile.
- Long-Lasting – With proper care, dental implants can last for decades – much longer than dentures and bridges.
Which Option is Best for Me?
Every smile and personal situation is unique, so there is no automatic answer to the question of whether bridges, dentures or dental implants are the right tooth replacement solution for you. Ultimately, your decision should be made in consultation with an experienced dentist in Sarasota.
If you are missing teeth – congenitally or otherwise – and are ready to get rid of the gap in your smile forever, talk to your dentist today about dental implants and other restorative treatment options.
About the Author
Dr. Ben Tindal is passionate about helping patients regain their confidence and their smile through implant, esthetic and reconstructive dentistry. The University of Florida graduate earned a certificate in prosthodontics alongside his master’s degree and maintains an active membership in the Academy of Osseointegration. Sarasota residents interested in replacing missing teeth can visit the Tindal Prosthodontics website or call 941-225-2520 to learn more.