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What happens if you don’t replace a missing tooth? and how to replace it?

All dentists try their best to save a tooth up to their last best opportunity. However, there might come a situation when the tooth has to be removed. The causes for extraction could be varied from
1.    Grossly destructed tooth due to dental caries
2.    Periodontally compromised tooth (mobility)
3.    Fractured tooth etc.,
Once a tooth is pulled out comes the question, what happens if you do not replace the missing tooth and how to replace it. The teeth are stable in a position only when they are in contact. If there is no adjacent or opposing tooth the teeth migrate until they make a contact. Hence not replacing a missing tooth jeopardizes the health of 2 adjacent and at least 1 opposing tooth. In order to maintain the health of the teeth, gum, alveolar bone and generally oral health we have to replace a missing tooth.

What are the way of replacing a missing tooth?

There are basically 3 ways of replacing a missing tooth.
1.    Removable partial denture
2.    Dental Bridge
3.    Dental Implant

1. Removable partial denture:

A removable partial denture takes support of the surrounding bone, soft tissue and teeth to replace a missing tooth. It has to be removed after every meal and has to be brushed and kept well. Many people find it cumbersome with food getting lodged after every meal.

2. Dental Bridge:

Dental bridge is when a tooth ahead and behind the missing tooth is prepared to receive a crown.

3. Dental Implant:

An Implant is a Titanium screw that is placed in the bone over which a crown is placed to replace the missing tooth.

Dental Implant placement can be done in single stage or two stage:

a)    Single stage or immediate loading implant
b)   Two stage or delayed loading implant

a. Single stage or immediate loading implant

In immediate loading implant, the diseased tooth is extracted atraumatically and an appropriated length implant is placed. The area around the implant needs to be packed with bone graft material and then the flap are sutured. An immediate placement tooth is made and fixed on the implant. Patient is asked to be careful to not eat anything using the tooth. Giving a gap of 3-4 months, a final crown is placed. This procedure is mainly required for front teeth for esthetic reasons.

b. Two stage or delayed loading implant

In delayed loading implant, once the diseased tooth is extracted the socket is allowed to heal for a period of 2-3 months. Socket preservation technique can be used to avoid bone loss. Then an implant is placed in the area and with a gap of 2-3 months the implant is loaded.

Dental Implants are the closest replica to a natural tooth. They help preserve the alveolar bone as the forces of occlusion are transmitted to the bone. They replace both the root as well as the crown of the tooth. The procedure is less painful than getting a tooth extracted. And if taken care of well they can last a life time.


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