Fix Missing Teeth
Losing a tooth can cause some anxiety unfortunately there are a number of options available to patients to replace a tooth and restore the form and function of your mouth.
- Dental bridge: A dental bridge is a permanent dental restoration cannot be removed by the patient. A traditional bridge uses one or two crowns that hold a fake tooth in place over the space where your tooth used to be! A traditional bridge can span the space of multiple missing teeth or can replace one tooth. There is another bridge option called a Maryland bridge that is used to replace just one or two teeth. A Maryland bridge does not negatively affect neighboring healthy teeth like a traditional bridge because a Maryland bridge uses metal wings that are affixed to the back of neighboring teeth to hold the fake tooth in place.
- Partial denture: A partial denture is a great option for patients who are missing a larger number of teeth in one area of the mouth. A partial denture can be fixed or removable according to the patient’s habits and lifestyle. A removable partial denture can be taken out by the patient for cleaning and sleeping whereas a fixed partial denture is cemented in place and is not removed by the patient. Like a bridge, a fixed partial denture relies on two healthy teeth on each side of the open space for the crowns to be attached to. A removable partial denture also relies on neighboring healthy teeth but instead of being cemented in place, they simply hook on with metal or acrylic clasps.
- Dental implant: A dental implant is a great way to replace missing teeth; it is more secure and more aesthetically pleasing than other restorative options. A dental implant is also a healthier option because the implant helps stimulate bone regeneration whereas other restorative options that lie above the gumline can allow the jaw bone to deteriorate. A dental implant is a titanium post that is screwed directly into the jawbone and integrates with the bone structure to provide a stable and secure base for your implant crown. Implants are more invasive than other options and often are more costly depending on the number of implants required but implants are considerably more stable and can last a lifetime.
Dental bridges and partial dentures will likely need to be replaced every 10 years or so because as your mouth changes, the restoration can become ill-fitting.
Leave the space: Not having the space restored is always an option but it is not advisable. When there is a space in the teeth, neighboring healthy teeth shift and try to close the space which can lead to loose teeth and malocclusion. Leaving the space can also cause severe bone deterioration and a change in appearance of your facial structure, leading to more problems and a more costly path of treatment in the future.