Closing a gap in your teeth that is the result of a missing tooth

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Closing a gap in your teeth that is the result of a missing tooth

We have fielded inquiries from prospective customers about using ORA-BANDs to close a gap between their teeth that is caused by a missing tooth. This is not an idea that anybody in that situation should pursue. You should never attempt to move a tooth into an empty space that was created by a missing tooth.

Missing teeth can be the result of long term periodontal disease (this can be caused by a variety of different reasons) or blunt force trauma. Teeth do not fall out of their roots without being prompted to by a significant insult to their supporting structures.

If you find that you are missing one or more teeth your best option is to pursue a replacement for those teeth. A person that is unfortunate enough to find themselves in that situation will find that there are several problems that arise from missing teeth:

  • Your teeth have a tremendous amount to do with how you are perceived by the outside world. People subconsciously and consciously apply all sorts of negative attributes to people that are missing teeth. Nobody finds missing teeth to be attractive.
  • Human teeth have evolved over time to work together. No tooth has unilateral reign over the other teeth in the mouth. A missing member of that team will offset the ways in which your mouth implements force to chew foods. This can cause damage to the other teeth, the muscles in your jaw, the gums and the jaw bone.
  • Our self-esteem is tied, in large part, to the way that we look. Missing a tooth - especially one of the prominently visible front teeth – will make most people very self-conscious. This will more than likely chip away at your confidence.
  • Your teeth will drift along your gum line as a result of the spacing created by the missing tooth. This will create additional spacing between teeth all around the oral cavity. This sort of shift is likely to cause periodontal disease and tooth decay.

There are several options that can be pursued to replace teeth. The option that you choose will depend on many factors. Among these will be:

  • The overall health of your mouth.
  • Your personal preferences for tooth replacement.
  • Your financial constraints (or lack thereof).

There are 3 options that you can pursue:

Removable Partial Dentures

A removable partial denture before placement

A denture of this type can be applied and removed quite easily from the oral cavity. The base of the denture is made from plastic and is colored to be an identical match to the color of your gums. Replacement teeth extend from the base. Some removable partial dentures have an interior framework that is made from metal. They will usually have a mechanism embedded into their framework that allows them to clasped to your remaining teeth.

A removable partial denture after placement

Pros

Removable Partial Dentures are the least expensive tooth replacement option. It can be constructed and placed in your mouth relatively quickly.

Everybody’s teeth naturally shift over time as we age. This process is exaggerated in people that have lost teeth. The surrounding teeth will have an even greater tendency to shift when there is room freed up along the gum line. The shift is guaranteed. Due to this, your tooth replacement apparatus is very likely to need adjustments. Removable Partial Dentures are the easiest such structures to modify. Most repairs and alterations to the device can be completed in a single visit.

Cons

Removable Partial Dentures may take some getting used to. They have a reputation for being uncomfortable when they have not been perfectly adjusted to the wearer’s mouth. They are also less sturdy than Fixed Bridges and Implants. They can break much easier than their tooth replacement counterparts. As a result, they usually need to be replaced more often than the other options.

Some people are embarrassed to have to take their denture out for cleaning or when they are turning in to sleep for the night.

General Care

Extreme care should be exercised when a person places a Removable Partial Denture in their mouth. Forcing it in place by biting down too hard can cause damage to the tooth attachments.

This denture should never be worn for an entire 24 hours. It should be removed while sleeping.

Fixed Bridge

A Fixed Bridge is positioned above the point of attachment

Fixed Bridges are cemented into place. The construction of a Fixed Bridge requires more steps than that of a Removable Partial Denture. A dentist can not construct the device on her own. Your dentist will take impressions of your bite and send them to a dental laboratory. At that laboratory, a dental technician will create your custom made Fixed Bridge from numerous materials. These will include ceramic or a combination of glass and ceramics combined with metal.

Before and After pictures of a Fixed Bridge

The tooth replacement is called a pontic. The attachment teeth are called crowns. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth are prepared for the crown by being filed down into a shape that allows for the crown to snugly fit on top of them. The pontic attaches to both crowns. The final apparatus is placed down over the area that comprises the missing tooth and the 2 surrounding teeth.

Pros

Fixed Bridges are far less expensive than Dental Implants.

They feel, look and operate like natural teeth.

Unlike Removable Partial Dentures; Fixed Bridges do not need to be removed to be cleaned.

Cons

It takes additional effort for wearers to clean underneath the pontic.

Fixed Bridges are more expensive than Removable Partial Dentures.

They can have adverse effects on the teeth that surround the bridge.

General Care

Fixed Bridges are far easier to care for than Removable Partial Bridges. Fixed Bridges are more durable than Removable Partial Bridges as well. They respond well to the same oral care that is advised for natural teeth.

Dental Implants

Dental Implants

Dental Implants can be used to replace a missing tooth, several missing teeth or an entire set of teeth. Implants are made from a titanium alloy. Titanium has excellent osseointegration with human bones. Osseointegration is the process by which a foreign substance fuses with bone. Implants are a functionally superior option to Removable Partial Dentures and Fixed Bridges.

A patient needs to be in good health in order to receive a dental implant because it requires surgery. Recovery time will vary for each patient. Thus, it is important that the patient is in good health prior to the surgery.

The bones in the jaw grow around a successfully placed implant. This makes implants extremely durable. Most implants will last for the entire life span of the recipient patient.

Pros

Successfully placed dental implants prevent the bone loss that is commonly caused when a person loses one of their natural teeth. Being that the jaw bone will grow around the implant, it secures the health of the bone and firms the roots of the implant.

Cons

Implants are far more expensive than Removable Partial Dentures and Fixed Bridges. It can cost thousands of dollars to replace a single tooth. The cost of implants may be make this option prohibitive.

General Care

Implants feel and function just like natural teeth. With proper oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits, they should last a lifetime.

Final analysis

Though ORA-BANDs are a great choice for closing gaps in the front row of teeth, they should not be used to move teeth into the position that a missing tooth once held. As we have explained, there are numerous tooth replacement options available to those that are missing teeth. It is important to replace the tooth as soon as possible. This will prevent widespread decay and the compromise of the structural integrity of the oral cavity of the recipient of the tooth replacement apparatus.

This is a link to the ORA-BAND blog

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