Patients can become entirely edentulous (without teeth) due to many reasons, the most prevalent being because of dental disease typically relating to oral flora control i.e. Gum disease (Gingivitis, Periodontitis) and Tooth Decay. Other reasons include Congenital defects, impaired tooth developmental due to severe malnutrition, genetic defects such as Dentinogenesis imperfecta, trauma, or drug use.
- Tooth drifting/ shifting - Drifting/ shifting of teeth into the spaces created by unreplaced missing teeth often occurs. Drifting of teeth usually creates conditions that lead to gum (periodontal) disease, and thus the initial tooth movement is aggravated by loss of tooth support. Drifting generally occurs in a mesial direction, combined with tilting or extrusion beyond the occlusal plane. Although drifting is a common sequela when missing teeth are not replaced, it does not always occur.
- TMJ Syndrome : When teeth shift out of alignment after tooth loss, bite problems usually develop. When the upper and lower jaws don’t meet properly, it strains and damages the jaw joint (TMJ).
- Gum Disease/Tooth Decay : Once teeth shift out of alignment, it is harder to reach some spots with your toothbrush or floss. When plaque and bacteria aren’t reached, tooth decay and periodontal disease develop, often causing further tooth loss.
- Face Shape Alteration : Dental implants ensure that your tooth root is replaced, which provides stimulation to prevent jawbone deterioration. Seeing a dental implants dentist ensures that you get the most long lasting, healthy tooth replacement solution. When the tooth root is not replaced from a missing tooth, bone deterioration can quickly lead to face shape alteration, changing your appearance.
- Food lodgment : Due to uneven tooth contacts, open spaces and tilted/ drifted teeth – food lodgment/ impaction increases which leads to dental caries/ cavities and gum disease.
- Inability to chew : Due to loss of few or more teeth the patient may find it difficult to chew due to decreased number of teeth. Therefore he/ she may under use one side causing disuse atrophy and over use the other side causing hyperuse atrophy.
Your dentist will suggest the following options for replacement of missing tooth/ teeth:
- Removable partial dentures
- Fixed partial dentures
- Dental Implants