With 178 million people in the U.S. missing at least one tooth and 33 million Americans having no natural teeth, National Prosthodontics Awareness Week aims to increase awareness about the importance of proper oral health and prosthodontic solutions to missing teeth.

“As a board certified prosthodontist, people ask me if they have to replace a missing tooth in the back of the mouth since no one can see it. My answer is yes,” said Dr. Avinash S. Bidra, of the University of Connecticut School of Dentistry and chair of the recognition week. “When you lose even a single tooth, it will result in bone loss, change the bite, cause food impaction and result in adjacent teeth moving towards the missing space. The longer one waits to get it replaced, the more challenging the clinical situation is. Yet, if you fix it fast the cycle stops.”

Prosthodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Prosthodontists are dental specialists with three years of advanced residency training beyond dental school in replacement of missing teeth and oral health issues. The American College of Prosthodontists represents and advocates on behalf of prosthodontists.

The ADA recommends a number of options for patients who suffer from missing teeth, including bridges, dentures or implants. To read more on what the ADA says on missing teeth, visit MouthHealthy.org and click on A-Z topics.

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To learn more about dental bridges and crowns, please visit Colgate.com.