If you have missing teeth, it’s important to have those teeth replaced as soon as possible for the sake of your long-term oral health. However, many people don’t know where to start the process. If you live in North Georgia, where do you look to find someone you can trust to replace those missing teeth?
Why It’s Important to Replace Missing Teeth
People who experience tooth loss often simply try to live with it, rather than go to the supposed expense and inconvenience of having those teeth replaced. However, your jaw and mouth are designed for a full set of teeth. In fact, your teeth aren’t just there to chew your food; they are part of your skeletal structure, which means they play a role in supporting other parts of your body. When you have one or more missing teeth and you don’t replace them, any or all of the following can happen:
- Your other teeth may migrate, creating more gaps between teeth, which affects your smile and makes it even more difficult to chew food.
- The exposed gums become more prone to infection, putting your other teeth at risk of decay and loss.
- With multiple missing teeth, your facial structure may begin to sag, creating deformities in your facial features without the proper skeletal support.
Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
Once you’ve decided to replace those missing teeth, you have several options available, each with its advantages and disadvantages:
Tooth-supported or resin-bonded bridge
Effectively, a new crown is installed in place of your missing tooth, bonded to and held in place by your adjacent teeth. A bridge may cost less in the short term, but it can permanently damage your adjacent teeth in the process and will eventually have to be replaced — perhaps several times.
Removable complete or partial dentures
In this case, a wearable prosthetic is created to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth, which can be removed and cleaned periodically. The downside is primarily looseness and discomfort; you may not be able to eat certain foods, and you must be careful of gum infections. Also, with no permanent bonding to the jaw, your jawbone may deteriorate underneath the dentures, affecting the look of your face.
While a bit more expensive in the short term, permanent dental implants look and feel the most like real teeth, preserving your gum line and restoring your smile. With proper care, implants can often last a lifetime without a need for replacement.
Who Should Perform Tooth Replacement?
For best results, you should only have teeth replaced by a qualified oral and facial surgeon, a dental specialist. Dentists may perform crown and bridge procedures and simple tooth extractions, but an oral surgeon can do complex extractions and dental implants. An oral surgeon specializes in restoring your smile.
Tips for Finding a Good Oral Surgeon in North Georgia
- Ask your dentist. If you have a dentist you trust, ask him/her about a recommendation and referral to a trusted oral surgeon.
- Ask friends and family. The best advertisement is often word-of-mouth. See if anyone you know has undergone tooth replacement, which North Georgia oral surgeon they went to, and what their experience was.
- Check with your insurance, if you have it. If your healthcare plan covers dentistry and/or oral surgery, check the directory for oral surgeons in your area who accept your plan.
- Do your own research online. Even when you have gathered several names of oral surgeons, don’t just take one person’s word for it. The internet offers a wealth of helpful information nowadays. Look up the oral surgeon or facility online. Check their website. Look up ratings and reviews. Double check their credentials to be sure they are board-certified and in good standing with their board.
- Talk with the oral surgeon. Ask detailed questions about the procedure, and listen to his/her answers. Does the surgeon listen to your needs? Does he take the extra time to make sure you know your options? Are you comfortable with this person?
There are plenty of qualified oral surgeons in North Georgia who can replace your missing teeth, but not all of them are for you. It’s important to choose someone with plenty of experience, someone with good rapport with patients, someone you believe you can trust. At Riverside Oral & Facial Surgery, our surgeons are highly skilled and experienced in dental implants and other tooth replacement options. We’d love the opportunity to meet you and see if we are right for you. Call us for an appointment at 706-235-5570.