How To Replace Missing Teeth
Losing a tooth is disappointing, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. As dental technology advances, the treatment options that you have available to replace your missing teeth has also advanced. Here are some of the most common ways to replace a missing tooth.
1. Dental Implants:
Dental implants are made out of titanium. They are surgically placed in the bone where your missing tooth once was, making them a permanent new tooth. Over the top of the titanium piece is a porcelain crown that can be custom made to match your surrounding teeth. The result is a tooth that looks and acts like a natural tooth. You get to chew on it and clean it as you would your natural tooth as well. These have become more common all of the time and are really the ideal solution if you are a good candidate.
A dental bridge is where you would crown the teeth around the missing tooth and have a pontic tooth in the middle. The pontic is a false tooth that is suspended between the two crowned teeth, creating a bridge. The bridge is cemented in place, making it a permanent fixture that you can chew on. You will need to floss below it and still take care of the surrounding teeth to ensure that your remaining teeth stay as healthy as possible.
A partial denture is a denture that replaces only one or more individual teeth in your mouth. This is a good solution if you are missing more than one tooth on the same jaw arch. That way you can wear only one partial if you are only missing a couple of teeth in the same area. Your partial will be removable, coming in and out of your mouth. You will need to remove it to clean it, but they are intended to be eaten with. They are also completely custom made to meet your needs and match with your mouth.
4. Full Dentures:
These are really only an option if you are missing all of your teeth or nearly all of your teeth. If this has happened, there are only two choices for replacement: full dentures or implant-supported dentures. Implant-supported dentures will be surgically placed in your mouth using titanium screws, with the dentures situated over the top of them. They will not be removable like traditional dentures are but will still need to be cleaned.
What Happens If You Do Nothing?
If you are considering doing nothing to replace your missing teeth, you might want to reconsider. The area that used to have a tooth will eventually lose the bone that used to support the tooth. The jaw will thin there, causing it to dip and affecting the shape of your face. Likewise, the teeth that are around the missing tooth will begin to lean inward toward the missing space, filling in the gap. It acts as a kind of domino effect, changing your entire biting surface and the alignment of your teeth.
Replacing a missing tooth will help keep your teeth where they were at before the tooth was lost. With an implant, you will not experience the bone loss since the implant would be supporting the jawbone just like the natural tooth did. A bridge or denture would not have the same results since there still would be nothing keeping the bone up.
If you are wondering what the right replacement option is for you, talk to your dentist. Together, you can make a plan to keep your smile as healthy and beautiful as possible