Replacing Missing Teeth Matthews, NC - McKee Dental Associates
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Replacing Missing Teeth

A missing tooth is no laughing matter.

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Replacing Missing Teeth

While a missing tooth may be cute on kids, we know it can be embarrassing for an adult. In fact, 25% of Americans over 65 have lost all of their teeth. The vast majority of the population have at least two missing teeth. Because of these statistics, we know that many of our patients will be faced with the loss of one or more teeth in their lifetime.

If you are about to lose a tooth or have recently lost a tooth (or teeth), you have important decisions to make. You are not alone. If you are faced with losing a tooth or are already missing teeth, we can help.

  • Tooth Loss impacts your ability to chew.
  • Missing teeth can make it embarrassing to smile.
  • Missing teeth can impact your social life and your career.

Tooth Replacement Options in Matthews


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Removable full dentures are the most affordable replacement when all of your teeth are missing or need to be removed. It can be a good starting point to replace teeth that are broken down or infected when beginning more comprehensive.


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A removable dental partial is an affordable way to replace several missing teeth when there are other teeth healthy enough to support it. There are many options with materials and esthetics for both temporary or permanent solutions.

Dental Bridges

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Fixed dental bridges can be used to span gaps when there are teeth on either side that can support it. They are more expensive than a removable plate but, since they are cemented in place, they function and feel more like real teeth.

Dental Implants

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Dental Implants can replace a single, multiple or all of your teeth. They can be used for removable or fixed teeth and have the largest range of applications whether you have no remaining teeth or your remaining teeth need to be removed.

When Missing Teeth are Not Replaced

Shifting Bite

Think of your teeth as a system of gears that mesh together – kind of like you would find in a nice watch. this study? of this fit is called occlusion. When one of those gears is damaged or removed the whole watch stops working. When one of your teeth is missing or removed the effects are just like that watch. The alignment of the teeth around the space changes and soon the rest of the teeth may not fit together. This can have very expensive consequences. As the bite shifts, it can become difficult to repair. Many times orthodontics, crowns or additional extractions are needed to recreate the space and fix your bite before anything else can be done. If you ignore it, the crooked bite forces will cause more bone loss and damage to the remaining teeth like a domino effect.

Failure to replace a tooth also causes shrinkage of the jawbone called resorption. Our jawbones primary job is to hold your teeth. When there are no teeth, our body thinks that there is no more job to be done and the bone simply dissolves away. Once it’s gone there’s no technology to bring it back. While placing a bridge or dentures can prevent shifting, only placing implants will prevent bone loss.

Look at the difference between these two panoramic x-rays showing what happens when there are no more teeth.

implant pano boneloss

This bone loss has a profound effect on our facial appearance.

bone loss after tooth loss

Patients who have no teeth will continuously lose bone. This loss needs to be made up with plastic relines to refit the dentures. In patients who don’t maintain their dentures with relines every 2-3 years, facial muscles contract and accommodate the shorter distance between their chin and nose. This change can be irreversible as the facial muscles can no longer accommodate a change in length. Even with regular relines, it often becomes impossible for a person to wear a denture later in life. Here is a great article on the health consequences of missing teeth.

Have a plan for replacement before, or soon after tooth loss occurs.