Missing teeth can be unsightly, cause chewing and speech issues, and may lead to other oral health problems. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers several options for replacing missing teeth.
Dental implants, bridges, and removable dentures are potential options you may have for a tooth replacement. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and one individual may be a candidate for one procedure but not another.
Your dentist will provide you with a selection of the most beneficial procedures based on your budget, dental needs, and any other unique factors.
Why Replace Missing Teeth?
Missing teeth may be primarily a cosmetic concern for many people. But they can affect your oral health, overall health, and quality of life in various ways.
When you lose a tooth, the adjacent teeth can shift and cause bite problems, cavities, and gum disease. The bone and gum tissue around the missing tooth may also shrink over time, making it harder to fit a replacement later. Missing teeth can also lead to jawbone deterioration (due to the increased risk of gum disease), TMD pain, and speech difficulties.
Replacing missing teeth can help prevent or alleviate these issues before they become a problem.
Teeth Replacement Options
There are 3 main types of tooth replacement options: implants, fixed bridges, and removable dentures. Each has pros and cons depending on your needs, budget, and preferences.
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. They use a titanium post to act as the “root” of the tooth, which is fixed into the jawbone, fusing with the bone to form a stable base for the artificial tooth attached to the top of it.
Implants are durable, natural-looking, and long-lasting, but they require a surgical procedure and a healthy jawbone, so they may not be suitable for everyone.
Restorative Dental Care
Fixed bridges replace one or more missing teeth by extending (or “bridging”) over the gap. They use dental crowns to hold artificial teeth between 2 of your natural teeth and are bonded into place.
Dentures are custom-made to fit your mouth and can replace several or all missing teeth. They can be made of acrylic or porcelain and held in place with clasps or adhesives. Dentures are usually less expensive than implants or bridges, but may require adjustments, relines, or replacements over time.
How to Choose the Right Option?
Choosing the right tooth replacement procedure depends on several factors, including oral health, budget, lifestyle, and expectations. Your dentist can evaluate your teeth, gums, and bone structure and recommend the best option.
You and your dentist must consider factors like the number, location, and condition of the missing teeth, the health of the adjacent teeth and gums, your age and general health, your ability to maintain oral hygiene, and your goals.
You may also need to weigh each option’s cost, durability, comfort, and convenience and compare it to your insurance coverage and financing options.
What to Expect During Teeth Replacement
Replacing missing teeth involves several steps and multiple visits to your dentist. You may need to undergo diagnostic tests, like X-rays or CT scans, to evaluate your bone density and plan the treatment depending on your chosen option.
You may need a bone graft to create a stable base for a tooth implant. After the surgical placement of the implant, you may need to wait for several months to allow the implant to heal and integrate with your bone.
For bridges and dentures, you’ll need impressions of your teeth taken and your teeth prepared for restoration. Once the bridge or denture is created, you’ll need to return to the dentist’s office for fitting and adjustments.
But every situation is different. Your dentist will review your expectations and anything you need to do in preparation before any procedure begins, regardless of which one you choose. They will also provide you with aftercare instructions and schedule follow-up visits to monitor your progress and oral health.
Discuss Teeth Replacement Options with Your Dentist
Missing teeth may seem daunting, but with the excellent tooth replacement options available, you can take control of your oral health and regain your smile. Whether you choose dental implants, bridges, or dentures, you can enjoy the benefits of having a strong, natural-looking, and functional set of teeth.
Contact us at West 85th Dental to book an appointment. One of our experienced dentists can walk you through your options.