A person may have a missing tooth/teeth for several reasons. The most likely reasons, as an adult, is a result of either severe gum disease or, dental decay, or trauma.
Although most dentists agree that this option is not a viable one, it is helpful to know what the risks and benefits are for leaving a space in the mouth. The only positive thing about leaving a space is that there is time to decide on how to replace the tooth or teeth so you do not have to rush into a treatment. However, if the tooth is not replaced, over time it could affect the gums, teeth, muscles and the jaw joint.
The picture above gives a common transition of the teeth when the gap between the teeth is not replaced.
- The surrounding teeth start to tilt/drift into the gap, causing other spaces between teeth to open up. This in turn allows further risk of decay and gum disease to affect the adjacent teeth
- The opposing tooth starts to fall into the space. This causes the top tooth to become more sensitive and looser.
- Due to the gap, the chewing efficiency is less on that side. So now, there is a tendency to favour the other side, usually leading to jaw joint pains, clicking and muscle aches, and ultimately affecting the teeth on the opposite side as well.
Below are some options to consider when replacing a missing tooth:
After your extraction/surgery, please follow these instructions:
- Take it easy for the rest of the day. Don’t do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise/sports, as it can cause further bleeding.
- The numbness should dissipate in about three-four hours. While it is numb, be careful not to eat anything as you might bite into your lips, cheeks or tongue. Also, try to avoid hot drinks, as you may burn yourself.
- After the anaesthetic wears off, the surgical site will be sore. If you need it, get some pain killers.
- The bleeding will stop in about 10 minutes. If the bleeding starts again later, roll up the extra gauze and bite on it constantly for about 20 minutes. The pressure will stop the bleeding.
- Do not smoke or consume alcohol for at least 48 hours. This may cause an infection in the socket which will be more painful than a toothache.
- Leave the surgical site alone. Try not to prod or poke it with your tongue. Also, try to eat on the other side for the next few days and avoid eating grainy or chewy foods.
- Start salt water rinses the next day after the surgery for the next five days. Do this after every meal. Don’t do any vigorous rinsing today, but you may clean your teeth as normal.
- If stitches were placed, they should resorb in two to three weeks unless specified.
- If antibiotics or pain killers were prescribed, take them according to the right dosage and frequency
Contact us immediately on (07) 3188 9477 if the following occurs:
- Heavy bleeding persists after 20 minutes of constant pressure.
You feel that the pain is getting worse or notice a swelling in the surgical area, this may mean an infection has developed.
As you know, dentures are not your real teeth, so you need to take extra care of them. Please read through the following instructions:
- Do not wear them at night when you sleep! First reason is because the mouth needs time to recover and self-clean a few hours a day. Also, saliva flow is the lowest at night, which means bacteria can stay longer. So, leaving things in the mouth at night gives you a higher chance of getting tooth decay and gum disease.
- Secondly, leaving the dentures in the mouth means there is constant pressure on the gums from the dentures. This causes an increased risk of gum recession, and over a period of time you may find the dentures have sunk in, and your own teeth have grown longer.
- When you are not wearing your dentures, keep them in a glass of water. The dentures may deform if it is left out too long.
- Clean your dentures with a soft toothbrush and soapy water. Clean your own teeth with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you don’t have your own teeth, use a mouthwash. Toothpaste can be too abrasive for the denture and can wear it away.
- Sterilise your dentures with Steradent for a few hours once a week. This gets rid of the nasty bugs we miss during regular cleaning. However, sterilising the denture too often may bleach the pink part of the denture.
- Regular check-ups are important, even if you don’t have any teeth. That way the dentist can keep up with your oral health and health in general.
If you have trouble with the dentures, let us know immediately so we can adjust it.