Posts for tag: missing tooth

TimingisEverythingWhenReplacingaTeenagersMissingTooth

There are good reasons, for both health and appearance, to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant or similar restoration as soon as is practical. The bone around a tooth socket diminishes the longer it remains empty, up to 25% the first year. And, of course, your smile is less attractive, especially with a highly visible tooth.

If it’s your teenager, though, you may need to wait on a permanent restoration because their jaws are still developing. An implant placed before completion of jaw development could eventually appear out of alignment with neighboring teeth.

Our biggest concern is protecting bone health at the site of the missing tooth. We can do this and encourage growth by placing bone grafts (processed minerals from another donor) that serve as scaffolds on which surrounding bone can grow. Grafts usually dissolve (resorb) over time, but the rate of resorption can be slowed for a younger patient in need of long-term bone growth.

Planned orthodontic treatment can usually go on as scheduled. The orthodontist may accommodate the tooth loss by adding a temporary tooth within the braces or other device that matches the color and shape of the patient’s natural teeth. The orthodontist will also take care to maintain the empty space for a future implant or other restoration.

A dental implant is considered the best option for a missing tooth, not only for its life-like appearance and durability, but also its ability to encourage bone maintenance. Timing, though, is essential for teenagers. As it grows, the upper jaw will tend to move forward and down. Natural teeth move with this growth; implants, though, are attached differently and won’t move with the jawbone. While the other teeth around them move, the implants can appear to shrink back resulting in an unattractive smile appearance. So waiting until the jaw has finished growing is important.

For most people, jaw growth finishes by age twenty-one for men, women usually faster, but each person is different. The dentist’s expertise and experience, coupled with comparisons of adult family members’ facial appearances, will help determine the right time to undertake a permanent restoration for the best outcome both for health and a permanent, attractive smile.

If you would like more information on treating teenagers with missing teeth, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants for Teenagers.”

By Edward Joseph, D.D.S.
February 15, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
FiveReasonstoChooseDentalImplants

Lost teeth can cause a host of problems, including a loss of your jaw bone and a collapsing appearance of your face, along with difficulty chewing and speaking.

Clearly, it is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. Options for replacement include the more traditional methods and the newest technique — dental implants. We believe that implants are your best choice for the following reasons.

  1. Implants prevent bone loss.

    Dental implants are substitute tooth roots. Like the roots of your original teeth, they stabilize the bone into which they extend — but in a different way.

    The part of the bone that encases the teeth is called alveolar bone, from the word root meaning “sac.” This bone has a special relationship with the teeth it surrounds. It develops as they first erupt into the mouth. If they are lost, the alveolar bone goes, too. It resorbs, or melts away, giving an impression that the bone, gums, and sometimes the lips are collapsing.

    Implants are made of titanium, which has the ability to join biochemically to bone. It takes the place of the original tooth root and prevents resorption.

  2. Implants support adjacent teeth.

    Your teeth work in harmony, an all for one, one for all relationship with each other. If one is missing, the remaining teeth will slowly move and shift causing them to receive forces that may not be well received. Losing any tooth increases the pressure on the remaining teeth. Losing a back (posterior) tooth can put pressure on the front teeth and they can be forced out of position. All these movements can change a person's appearance as well as in their ability to speak, bite and chew.

  3. They are easier to clean than “traditional” options.

    Fixed bridges are non-removable tooth replacements that attach to adjacent natural teeth. These teeth that are adjacent to the missing tooth have to be cut into small peg shapes on which the bridge is attached. The removal of their enamel may make them more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

    Older replacement methods include removable options such as plastic “flippers” and partial dentures. These replacements rest on the teeth and gums, making the teeth they attach to receive greater pressure causing more mobility. In addition, they exert pressure on the gums, causing additional bone loss and increasing the potential for bone loss on the neighboring teeth.

    Full dentures, in cases where all teeth are missing, are kept in place by pressing on the gum tissues. This causes even more pressure on the bone, leading to bone loss and changing facial structures.

  4. They are longer lasting.

    Studies have shown that removable partial dentures are replaced about every five years; bridges are only 67% successful at 15 years; and implants are over 95% successful for 20 or more years.

  5. They are cost effective in the long term.

    Because implants last longer than other alternative tooth replacements, they may seem more expensive at first; but they will be cost effective over the long term.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants. Evaluating Your Options.”



Burbank, CA Dentist
Edward C. Joseph, D.D.S.
2701 West Alameda Ave, Suite #503
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 842-7628

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