Dealing with the problem of missing teeth

One of the most common dental problems in adults is missing teeth. In the US 70% of the population is missing at least one tooth and this is a problem not just for aesthetics, but also for the health of the mouth and how you can deal with food.

It’s common that if people lose teeth at the back of their mouth, where it can’t be seen, they will ignore it until they experience pain from an infection, but it really is important to deal with missing teeth wherever in the mouth they are. Many people aren’t aware that missing teeth cause bone loss in the jaw, estimated to be around a 25% decrease in width over just one year. This can lead to changes in the ability to chew and even to speak and ultimately starts to degrade the jaw, even making people more prone to jaw fractures in the most extreme cases.

Other teeth are effected too, as the gum often pulls back due to the bone loss and this can weaken neighbouring teeth as well. Other teeth will also start to move out of position to use the space left by the missing tooth, causing gaps where food can become trapped and also making teeth less efficient at chewing.

So the message is, that you shouldn’t be living with missing teeth and should look for a solution to this common problem as soon as you can. There are several ways that dentists can help you solve this problem.

  1. Implants – These are a very popular way to replace missing teeth, as you can have just one, or several, they are low risk with a very high success rate and once in place they look very natural and require no special care. Read our Guide to Implants to find out more.
  2. Bridges – If you’re missing one or more teeth, but perhaps don’t have enough bone density under the tooth for implants, your dentist may recommend a bridge, which is fixed to the natural space surrounding your missing tooth. They can be made in porcelain or ceramic and colour matched to your natural teeth. As they are fixed to your surrounding teeth, you need to make sure that you have excellent dental hygiene so that the surrounding teeth do not get dental disease which can cause the bridge to come loose.
  3. Dentures – Dentures are the best option if you have lost all, or most of your teeth, as it would be difficult and costly to use the other two options in this case. However, as this is a removable device it can damage gums and lead to bone loss because the bone is not being stimulated by the teeth. Also, the dentures can slip and slide and cause issues with talking and eating, so we don’t recommend this for all but the most severe cases of tooth loss.

If you are missing one or more teeth and you want to find the right solution for you, please arrange a consultation at our Marbella Dental Clinic. Our experienced team will take a look at you and recommend the option that will best suit you in terms of the current state of your teeth, gums and jaw, the long term health of your mouth, the result you’re looking for and your budget. We will always be totally transparent and explain why we are making the choices and provide you with a detailed treatment plan, so you can be involved in the process and fully understand what we are doing.