Tooth Replacement Options
Losing a tooth is a frustrating experience, and it can also have other disadvantages. Even if the lost tooth is a back molar and you are not concerned with others noticing it is missing, it is still advisable to have it replaced. A missing tooth can cause other adjacent teeth to start shifting, which can affect your smile. Additionally, the bone can start shrinking, requiring bone grafting if you ever decide to get a tooth replacement procedure. Tooth replacement should be done sooner rather than later with one of these options.
The most permanent option for replacing a tooth is with a dental implant. The dental implant uses a metal post that becomes the root of your tooth. It is implanted into your jaw bone, where it is left for about 3-6 months to heal. During this time, the bone starts healing around the implant, which holds it firmly in place. Then, your dentist places an abutment and crown on top. The benefit to implants is that they last a long time, and function just like your natural teeth. Once healing is done, dental implants tend to be the most comfortable option.
Another option for a missing tooth is a fixed bridge. The bridge requires adjacent teeth to be intact, as they act as the anchor for the bridge. These teeth are prepared by being filed down, and then a crown is placed over them for more stability. The bridge is made with these crowns, plus an abutment where you have the missing tooth. This is also known as a fixed partial denture, as it is not removed like a traditional denture. You can get a bridge for one or multiple missing teeth, as long as you have adjacent teeth for holding the bridge in place.
Partial or Full Dentures
Lastly, there are partial and full dentures. Both are good options depending on the number of teeth needing replacement. Partial dentures work like regular dentures, but for less teeth missing. The partial denture is made to have teeth that look and feel like your other teeth so that it is not noticeable or obvious to others. If you’re replacing all of your teeth, you will need to get full dentures.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to learn more about your options and to find the tooth replacement option that will work best for you.