Losing a tooth is a delicate subject, but when it comes to restoring your smile to its beauty and function, it’s important to understand your replacement options.
Tooth loss can happen for a variety of reasons – most commonly injury or disease. No matter the cause, a missing tooth can have a big impact on your life.
The loss of one or more front teeth can be embarrassing and cause your self-confidence to decrease. Tooth loss also can make it more difficult to speak and eat. And the extra space left by even a single missing tooth may cause your other teeth to shift creating new spaces or gaps in your smile that were not there before. Tooth loss can even cause bone loss in your jaw and transform the appearance of your face. Fortunately, missing teeth can be replaced, helping you to solve or prevent such problems.
Luckily, today’s patients have a number of tooth replacement options to choose from and we’re here to help you find out what which options may be best for you.
Although dental implants are often the costliest of today’s tooth replacement options, they are also the most beneficial for your long-term overall health. Of all of the tooth replacement options on the market, dental implants feel and function most like your natural teeth. Implants are the only appliance that stimulates your jaw in addition to providing a seamless smile.
Why does jaw stimulation matter?
Normally, the roots of your natural teeth would stimulate your jaw and promote bone growth. However, when you lose a tooth, the jaw bone is left unstimulated. This can lead to bone loss and even cause a change in the shape of your face, making it appear older than it is.
Dental implants are a good choice for many patients looking to replace a single tooth or several teeth. Implants can even support dentures for patients missing an entire arch, removing the need for daily cleaning and soaking.
Implants are made of long-lasting, body-friendly titanium and topped with a crown that is custom made to match the rest of your teeth. Like a good car, dental implants can last for decades when cared for correctly.
However, because dental implants have to be surgically inserted into the jaw bone, they aren’t for everyone. There must be enough bone to support the implant, or you may need to be able to go through a build-up surgery to prepare the implant site. The best way to determine if you might be a good candidate for a dental implant is to schedule an implant consultation with your dentist or prosthodontist.
A bridge is a dental prosthetic that is made up of between one to four crowns and is attached to existing teeth on either side of the gap. Bridges are cemented into place and will allow you to eat and smile comfortably. Conveniently, bridges also come in a variety of color and material options to accommodate any budget.
The biological teeth on either side of your bridge will have to be prepared by trimming down the existing tooth so that a false crown can be placed over each, with the replaced teeth floating between these anchor points.
It’s important to note while a bridge will fill in any visible gaps in your smile, it does not stimulate the jaw (unless an implant supported bridge is used). On average, bridges usually last seven to fifteen years, depending on how much wear and tear your bridge goes through.
Similar to bridges, partials fill in a few missing teeth. The plastic appliance is supported by a metal framework and clasps that attach to your biological teeth. Your dentist may also recommend adding crowns to the supporting teeth so improve the fit of the partial.
Because partials are not permanently attached to your existing teeth, they need to be removed nightly for cleaning and soaking. A follow-up appointment is usually needed to make any adjustments to the fit of the partial once you’ve gotten used to it.
Partial dentures do lose their fit over time and can become loose in the mouth. When this happens, the partial will need to be replaced, usually every five to ten years.
Which is right for me?
When deciding on the right tooth replacement option for you, please remember that the sooner you replace that missing tooth – or teeth – the sooner you can get back to eating, speaking and smiling with confidence.
If you’re unsure which option may be best for your needs, or if you want to know if you qualify as a good candidate for a dental implant, request a consultation with your nearest Dental Depot today and get back to smiling sooner.