Approximately 178 million Americans are missing teeth, and the number of teeth missing tends to go up with age. While a single missing tooth might not seem like a big deal, placement matters. Front teeth are on display every time we smile, and dark gaps are immediately noticeable. In addition, every missing tooth destabilizes more, and you can find yourself in a cascade of tooth loss in short order.
If you’re self-conscious about your missing teeth, it might be time to consider restorative dentistry. Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili of Fairfax Family Dentist in Fairfax, Virginia, can restore your smile with cosmetic dentistry even if you are missing teeth.
The importance of cosmetic dentistry
Our smiles are more than a way to show happiness; they contribute to first impressions, job opportunities, friendships, relationships, and our self-esteem. One study reported that 82% of respondents believe that a straight, white smile will get them ahead in life.
As you can expect, this emphasis on the “perfect” smile can be alienating if you have crooked, discolored, or yellow teeth. Even if you avoid smiling, these cosmetic problems can persist and cause self-consciousness.
Problems with your teeth are difficult to hide, which is why cosmetic dentistry aims to correct minor flaws and help you feel comfortable with your smile.
Correcting missing teeth
Losing a tooth can be upsetting and traumatic for anyone, especially if it’s one of your front teeth. Luckily, you have options when it comes to replacement.
Dental implants are considered the gold standard when it comes to tooth replacement. They look, act, and feel just like a natural tooth, which is an appealing concept. Implants also prevent further tooth loss by stimulating the jawbone, which holds the roots of your teeth in place.
If you’re not ready to commit to dental surgery, a bridge can fill the gap in the meantime. Dental bridges are fixtures held in place by your surrounding teeth. A traditional bridge consists of three pieces: two crowns and a pontic (false tooth). The crowns are placed on the neighboring teeth, while the pontic bridges the gap, hence the name.
Deciding which is right for you
When comparing dental bridges and implants, there are lots of factors to consider.
Dental implant surgery can be pricey, as you’re getting a permanent, realistic replacement for your missing tooth. Implants are highly recommended, especially for young people who have lost teeth. The sooner you replace your missing tooth, the better, and implants are the perfect buttress to prevent adjacent teeth from drifting, loosening, and falling out themselves.
Bridges typically aren’t as durable or permanent as implants, and they don’t prevent bone loss or teeth shifting. However, they are a valuable option for patients who don’t want to undergo surgery, cannot afford implants, or just want the cosmetic benefits of replacing a missing tooth.
The choice depends entirely on your circumstances, budget, health, and preferences. Dr. Yalamanchili provides every patient with a comprehensive evaluation, so she can help you decide which option is right for you. If you choose an implant, she will partner with a surgeon who will place the implant and then will herself complete the restoration in her office.
Self-conscious about your missing teeth? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Yalamanchili by calling 703-213-5312, or book an appointment online.