Missing teeth can have a negative impact on your dental and overall health. In addition to affecting your appearance and self-confidence, missing teeth can cause problems with your jaw and affect your ability to chew and speak. Here are the major options to replace missing teeth.
A traditional bridge is permanently affixed to the neighboring teeth to “bridge” the gap caused by a missing tooth or teeth. At your examination, your dentist will discuss ideal options to replace missing teeth and determine which method is best for you.
Before receiving a bridge, the surrounding teeth are prepared for crowns to serve as anchors for the replacement teeth. The bridge itself is made of one or more prosthetic teeth anchored to the crowns on either side of the gap. This restoration restores your smile’s appearance and your ability to eat and speak properly. Bridges are typically made of gold, porcelain, or a combination of these materials.
The process for completing a bridge typically takes two to three appointments to complete. Once the bridge is in place, it should last many years before needing to be replaced, provided that you treat it carefully and maintain good oral hygiene. Your dentist may recommend that you avoid certain foods that could damage your new bridge. These include sticky and hard foods, including candy apples or caramels. You should also practice preventative care, like brushing twice a day and flossing daily. If left uncared for, bridges can lose their strength and support, requiring repair or replacement.
A dental bridge is highly customizable to your smile and your needs. Your dentist will evaluate your current oral health and discuss your personal needs with you to determine which type of bridge will work best for you. In many cases, a bridge is a fast and effective option to complete your smile and restore your confidence. Talk to one of our dentists today to determine if a dental bridge is right for you.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues that can be taken out and put back into your mouth as needed. Two types of dentures are available - complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. In a few cases, implants can be used to support permanently cemented bridges or crowns as an alternative to removable dentures.
Removable dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to gum-colored plastic bases that take on the appearance of natural gums. They are used to compensate for one or more missing teeth. Also called false teeth, these dental appliances allow patients to chew food normally and speak clearly. They also help fill out the appearance of a patient’s face and profile. In cases where the jaw bone has shrunk significantly, dentures may not be a suitable option. In this case, dental implants are the recommended form of treatment.
Immediate dentures are placed right after the teeth are removed, whereas conventional dentures require 6-8 weeks to be made before the permanent set is placed in your mouth. These are also called transitional dentures and are temporary replacements as the jaw heals following tooth removal. Immediate dentures are more expensive but are great as a temporary solution. On the other hand, conventional dentures don’t require surgery, so they can be made ahead of time and can be fitted as soon as the gums heal. Conventional dentures may require adjustments in order to create a better seal with the gums.
Initially, it will take some time to get used to your new dentures. Speaking and eating may feel different, and you may also notice increased saliva flow. These issues can be controlled by practicing proper hygiene and reducing pressure on the dentures. Over time, your speech will improve, as well as your chewing and digestion.
Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing teeth. They are long-lasting and look completely natural! An implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed in the jawbone, just like a tooth’s root. It can be used for a single missing tooth or to secure a bridge or denture. When secured, dental implants provide stimulation to the jawbone, which keeps the bone healthy and intact. This prevents future bone loss that occurs when teeth are missing. A dental implant can dramatically improve your smile and restore your confidence! It will look so natural no one will be able to tell it’s not your real tooth.
While implants have a high success rate, they are not always the best option for everyone. Your dentist will talk to you about your options and help you decide what is best for you. Some people who need an implant may not have enough bone in their jaw to securely hold the implant in place. In this case, your dentist may recommend a bone graft to prepare the area for the implant. Talk to your dentist about your concerns and see if they have any solutions for you!