Some patients never develop certain teeth. This condition, referred to as congenitally missing teeth, leaves gaps in the smile and can have a negative impact on your aesthetics, health, and function. There are several treatment options available for replacing congenitally missing teeth, including dental bridges or the use of braces.
However, the most reliable tooth replacement option is dental implants. Today, our Philadelphia, PA team discusses dental implants for missing incisors and discusses how this treatment can restore your smile for many years to come.
About Congenitally Missing Teeth
When one or more teeth are congenitally missing, it is referred to as anodontia. The maxillary lateral incisors are among the most common teeth affected by this condition. Statistically, about two percent of the population suffers from this hereditary disorder.
The Importance of Replacing Congenitally Missing Teeth
Aside from the obvious aesthetic challenges that accompany congenitally missing teeth, patients with the condition can also experience a loss of proper function as well as compromised oral health.
All aspects of your smile work together harmoniously. When one element is absent, it can have a negative impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Replacing missing teeth is essential for long-lasting dental health.
Traditional Treatments for Missing Incisors
Before the development of dental implants, patients with congenitally missing teeth had a couple of different options. These include:
- Dental bridges: A dental bridge can effectively replace a missing tooth. However, the natural teeth on either side of the gap must be filed down to place the restoration. This can compromise healthy tooth structure, leaving your smile vulnerable to future damage. Additionally, bridges must be replaced approximately every 10 to 20 years.
- Orthodontics: Another treatment involves wearing braces to move the teeth forward and close the space. In most cases, this means the canine tooth is moved into the position of the lateral incisor. Once this is complete, veneers can be placed on the front teeth to make the canine look like a lateral incisor and make the premolar look like a canine.
Both of these treatment options may still be used today, depending on the specific case. However, in most instances, dental implants are the most predictable and least invasive solution.
Dental Implants for Missing Incisors
The leading solution for congenitally missing teeth is dental implants. These small threaded posts replace the roots of missing teeth and are surgically placed in the jaw during an oral surgery procedure. Unlike traditional dental bridges, implants do not require altering the neighboring teeth. Therefore, all healthy structure is left intact. In most cases, orthodontic treatment can also be avoided by choosing dental implants.
During this procedure, the doctor creates a small incision in the gums to access the jaw. Using specialized dental equipment, the jawbone is prepared for the implant post. Once the implant is placed in the jaw, the incision will be closed with stitches.
After a few months of healing, the final crown can be connected to the implant. The result is a beautifully complete, fully functional smile.
Contact Artistic Expressions Dentistry
If you have congenitally missing incisors, dental implants can fill the spaces and complete your smile. To explore your candidacy for this treatment, schedule a consultation at our practice. Contact us online or give us a call at (215) 340-1199.