With the current advances in dental care, there's no need to tolerate the discomfort of a missing tooth. Implants, bridges, and dentures are the top dental treatments for replacing a missing tooth.
What replaces a missing tooth?
There are three methods that dentists use to replace a missing tooth.
- Dental Implant
- Dental Bridge
An implant is a dental device that is surgically placed in an upper or lower jaw.
The lower portion of the implant (post and abutment) serves as an anchor, holding the crown in place.
Implants are usually made of titanium, ceramic, and other biocompatible materials.
Placing an implant is a 3-step process:
- During oral surgery, an implant and screw are inserted into the jawbone
- The dentist attaches a post to the implant
- In the final step, the dentist creates a custom dental crown and attaches it to the post
The entire process usually takes four to six months to complete.
An important advantage of dental implants is they look and feel like natural teeth.
A bridge is a dental device designed to fill the space between one or more missing teeth. Bridges come in two types – fixed or removable. The type of bridge recommended by your dentist will depend upon your unique dental needs.
If you have lost most of your teeth, dentures are the preferred option. Dentures are a combination of replacement teeth and a plastic base. The base color is made to match the color of your gum line.
If you still have natural teeth, the dentist will remove them before denture placement. After the gum tissue has healed, the dentures are fitted and placed. The dentist may adjust or reline your dentures over time to ensure a comfortable fit.
What happens if I do not replace a missing tooth?
- The space between your teeth can make it more difficult to chew or speak clearly
- The remaining teeth may move or shift out of place
- Bone loss may occur below the gum line
- An open space that shows when you talk or smile can affect your appearance
- The biting force on the remaining teeth can diminish; this condition can cause jaw problems
- If your teeth shift, it can make it difficult to clean your teeth
Replacing a missing tooth will help you:
- Smile with confidence
- Comfortably eat and chew
- Clean your teeth
- Keep your gums healthy
- Maintain your facial structure
Can braces or Invisalign fix a missing tooth?
If the missing tooth has been removed in preparation for orthodontic treatment, then braces or Invisalign may work.
If you have a missing tooth due to periodontal disease, tooth decay or trauma, your dentist will recommend one of these options:
Replacing a missing tooth is great for your smile and also improves your overall health.
Talk with your dentist about which tooth replacement option is best for you.