Having a healthy set of teeth, whether real or substitutes, is important for chewing food and maintaining your nutrition.
If you’ve lost teeth from injury, disease or wearing down, or if you didn’t develop certain teeth, a prosthodontist can help. Prosthodontists can provide dental implants, dentures or bridges to comfortably conform to your mouth, and can replace teeth to restore or improve your smile.
Missing teeth also can be problematic in children. Those first little teeth are more important than many parents realize. “Healthy baby teeth lay the groundwork for good digestion,” says pediatric dentist Marsha Gordon, DDS, with Lehigh Valley Health Network. Baby teeth also hold the spaces for permanent teeth, and a decayed or missing baby tooth can interfere with learning correct speech.
It’s important to replace a missing tooth, even if the space doesn’t show. Otherwise, surrounding teeth shift positions and the jawbone under the empty space deteriorates, raising the risk for infection and gum disease.
What to do if a tooth gets knocked out
“Permanent teeth have a good chance of survival if reimplanted quickly,” Gordon says. If a permanent tooth gets knocked out, gently rinse off any dirt, place the tooth back in the socket so it’s level with the other teeth, bite down gently on gauze (or a wet tea bag) to keep it in place, and see a dentist immediately. If the tooth won’t stay in the socket, place it in a container with a small amount of whole milk or saliva.
If it’s a baby tooth, don’t try to reinsert the tooth before going to the dentist. That could injure the permanent tooth bud beneath.