There are some conditions that can accelerate tooth loss, such as poorly-managed diabetes and some forms of cancer. The loss of multiple teeth is more likely to be caused by periodontal disease, although this won't result in multiple teeth being simultaneously lost. Tooth loss from untreated periodontal disease (also commonly known as gum disease) is progressive, while still being gradual. Losing multiple teeth all at the same time is generally only caused by an accident resulting in blunt force trauma to your mouth. Whatever the reason for those multiple gaps in your smile, what are your options when you need to replace multiple teeth?
Multiple teeth can certainly be replaced with multiple dental implants, with each tooth receiving an artificial tooth anchor (the titanium bolt implanted into your jaw), before being finished with an abutment, which has a prosthetic dental crown attached to it. While this is an option for replacing multiple missing teeth, the expense, along with the necessary healing and subsequent stabilization for each implant (known as osseointegration) can mean it might not be the most practical option. A versatile approach utilizing different methods can be more appropriate.
Key load-bearing teeth can be replaced with individual dental implants. Think of your molars, which are exposed to a great deal of bite pressure when chewing. These teeth will certainly benefit from an individual anchor structure, but this isn't necessary for all teeth. Implant-supported dentures can replace your other missing teeth that might not necessarily be exposed to such continuous pressure. This is when you receive a series of smaller dental implants, designed to create a base for dentures. These implant-supported dentures can be removable or permanently bonded into place, with permanent bonding creating the most natural result.
Losing multiple teeth isn't quite the same as losing all your teeth, and where possible, your dentist can use your remaining natural teeth to support their new, artificial cousins. For example, perhaps you've lost two teeth right next to each other — your first molar and your second premolar. On either side of that gap, your second molar and your first premolar are perfectly intact. A dental bridge involves capping these healthy teeth with dental crowns, with two prosthetic teeth fitted between crowns, creating a single unit bridge that replaces multiple teeth.
When you're missing multiple teeth, multiple methods will be your best bet when it comes to replacing them.
To learn more about options like dental bridges, contact your dentist.