If you are missing one or more teeth, it is vital to have them replaced using either a denture, a bridge or an implant for several reasons. Replacing missing teeth restores your mouth to its natural function. You will be able to smile, talk, bite and eat with confidence. But what you might not be aware of is that missing teeth can lead to changes in the shape of the jaw and cheeks by creating concavities. Missing teeth can also lead to shrinking of the jawbone in affected areas because there are no longer teeth to support the height of the bone. There are several options to replace missing teeth. Your dentist will discuss which option will work best for you.
Partial or Full Denture
Dentures that are used to replace one or more teeth are called a partial denture. A full denture replaces an entire arch of teeth. A denture attaches to either the top and or bottom of the mouth to fill the space of the missing teeth. Dentures can help with aesthetics and eating but are not the most comfortable, convenient or long-term solution.
A dental bridge is an excellent solution for replacing just one tooth, or sometimes two teeth side by side. A bridge consists of the pontic tooth or teeth which are the fake teeth used to close the space, which is attached to crowns on either side of the pontic(s). The downside to a dental bridge is that the adjacent teeth on either side must have crowns placed to support the pontic, even if they are healthy teeth.
Dental Implants & Implant-Supported Dentures
The gold standard in tooth replacement is now dental implants. Dental implants are the best option to feel, look and function just like a natural tooth. You don’t need to sacrifice the adjacent teeth for an implant, and an implant helps to save the bone where the tooth was lost. A dental implant consists of a titanium screw that is inserted into the bone. Once placed, a porcelain crown is secured to the top of the dental implant. When taken care of properly, implants can last a lifetime. Implants can also be used to replace a full arch of teeth by supporting dentures that don’t need to be taken out and put back in every day.
If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth and believe you may benefit from a replacement option, or if you have any questions about tooth replacement options, contact us to schedule an appointment today.