If you are mission one or more teeth, you are not alone. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, nearly 70% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 are missing at least one tooth. This was caused by accidents, tooth decay, failed root canals, and gum disease. Women fare only slightly better than men, 58% of women have lost at least one tooth as opposed to a full 60% of men. Many are missing several teeth
Even for the people who are not missing several teeth, many of us are not happy with the teeth we have. About 49% of us say we are not satisfied with our teeth. More than 30% of us have tooth decay.
What can people do about missing several teeth? There are several options to replace one or more teeth.
Dentures: These are removable replacements. Basically, they include replacement teeth on a plastic base. The base is created to blend in with the patient?s gums. These take some getting used to as they are similar to any other kind of prosthetic. Many people report the dentures feeling tight or a bit foreign for the first few weeks. These may need to be refitted as you age and should not be worn 24 hours a day. Most people remove them at night. The main advantage to this option is the price. They can, however, be uncomfortable and less stables than other options. If you are missing several teeth, this is a very economical way to deal with that.
Fixed Bridges: These are similar to dentures but they are permanent. They replacement section needs to be anchored to the surrounding teeth. The enamel is removed from the teeth that will be used to anchor the bridge. The bridge itself is a section of crowns that looks like your natural teeth. Your dentists will bond or cement it into place so that it cannot be removed at home. The best part of these is that they do look and feel more like natural teeth than removable dentures. They are cheaper than implants but more expensive than dentures. They do require the adjacent teeth to be impacted.
Dental Implants: This is currently the most expensive option. These share the look and feel of natural teeth more than the other options. The process takes several steps. Your oral surgeon will determine if your jaw can support the implant. The surgeon or dentist will then put the implant post into your bone. Your natural bone will heal around the implant making the connection very strong. Once this has healed, a replacement will be attached to the implant.
Dental implants have a great success rate of about 98%. Dental implants used for one or several missing teeth can last for decades. It is a good option for people who are concerned about disturbing the other teeth that are near where the missing ones were. Nearly three million Americans have at least one implant and that number is expected to rise. About 500,000 people get dental implants every year. In 2015, the global market for these implants was worth more than $7 million. This is expected to increase to at least $10 million by 2020.
This option is more expensive and do require surgery. This may not be an option for everyone. This can be a longer process for many people as dentists and oral surgeons often wait for the healing process from placing the implant until when they can attach the replacement tooth or teeth. The other concern with implants is that they are more porous than natural teeth. This means their surface can be a breeding ground for bacteria. While they should be cleaned the same way you clean natural teeth, you should be more thorough with your implants.
Dental implants have a long history. Evidence of their use has been found as far back as 600 AD. Mayan women had pieces of shell pounded into their jaws. The process has undoubtedly become a lot less painful over the years!
Deciding what you should do about missing several teeth is a person decision. You should discuss your options with your dentist.