Throughout our lifetimes, it’s not uncommon to experience permanent tooth loss, a.k.a, missing teeth. The cause can be related to things like poor dental care over your lifetime, an accident, or perhaps another ailment like diabetes. Regardless of what caused the tooth loss, know that there are options to replace those missing teeth to bring your smile back to – or even better than – what it once was. Depending on your case, your dental health care professional may suggest one of the following treatments: implants, bridges, or removable dentures.
Noted as the most stable and secure tooth replacement option, implants are a great, long term solution. Implants are done by surgically placing a titanium implant into the jawbone in the spot where a tooth was removed. Over time, the jawbone begins to heal around and adhere to the implant, creating a sturdy foundation for the “new” tooth. Once the implant has healed, your dentist will place a dental crown on top of the implant that will closely resemble your surrounding teeth in shape, size, and color. If you need more than just one tooth replaced, customized dentures or bridges can be made, attaching to the implant like a single tooth would.
Implants truly are an excellent long term, discreet solution for righting your smile. Just keep in mind that the process can be lengthy as your body heals around the implant. Because implants involve surgery, it’s suggested that you speak with your physician to see if you’re healthy enough to undergo surgery and if you can be expected to heal in a timely fashion without heightened risk of infection.
Unlike implants, bridges rely on adjacent teeth for their support to keep your replacement tooth/teeth in place. Although they do offer a quicker solution, bridges do have a couple of strikes against them, especially when considering stability, the health of your surrounding teeth, and the increased maintenance and care they require.
For a tooth-supported fixed bridge, the adjacent teeth are ground down to offer a smooth surface for the bridge to adhere to. Because this option does not require any support from the jawbone, the bone is not reactivated, which can be a cause for concern. Over time, the bone may start deteriorating, which can cause changes to your smile and face.
Resin-bonded bridges, in comparison, do not damage your adjacent teeth. Most commonly used for front teeth, the tooth of a resin-bonded bridge has “wings” on each side that are glued to adjacent teeth.This bridge option does not require damaging other teeth, but it still does have some points of concern. Like the tooth-supported fixed bridge, the jawbone is still not stimulated, which could lead to future issues with the smile and face. The resin-bonded bridge also lacks the stability of the tooth-supported fixed bridge and is not strong enough for the constant wear and tear of your back incisors.
Made for both partial or full tooth replacements, dentures are customized retainers or small appliances that sit atop your gums. By many, dentures are deemed as the quickest solution, but also the most unstable and the most uncomfortable. Like bridges, they do not require any interaction with the jawbone. Because dentures are removable, their likelihood of slipping and shifting in the mouth can cause speaking and chewing problems.
With so many options to choose from, it’s important to review your dental history and needs with a dental health care provider to find the solution that’s right for you. Are you looking for more information or guidance about missing teeth? Consider scheduling an appointment with Mogren Dental. We’re always accepting new patients, and you can make your appointment by calling 231-737-5500 or by scheduling online today!