There are a variety of common reasons people are missing teeth. Missing teeth can cause many oral health problems, including difficulty chewing food and the gradual movement and misalignment of your teeth over time. However, there are solutions to dealing with missing teeth, including dental implants, implant-supported bridges, and removable partial dentures. Read on to…
A Dentist Explains the Different Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
Within the past few decades, advances in dentistry have resulted in many options for replacing missing teeth. While all of these options help restore functionality and appearance to a person’s mouth, they also differ in several ways. Depending on a patient’s dental history and lifestyle, one replacement option may be better suited for them than the others.
Here are the four most common options for replacing missing teeth:
- Dental implants
- Implant-supported bridges
- Tooth-supported bridges
Although the field continues to advance, each of these options has its own strengths and weaknesses. Talking with your dentist is one of the best ways to learn about your available options for replacing missing teeth.
Dental implants are recommended for those who want to replace a tooth with a single, secure replacement that can last a lifetime. Dental implants consist of two components: a metal screw that is inserted into the gum or jawbone and an artificial tooth that is attached to the screw. Surgery is required to place the screw, and adequate jawbone density is required for screws inserted into the jawbone. Dental implants are more expensive to insert than other options for replacing missing teeth but can last for the rest of a patient’s life.
Bridges are recommended over dental implants for patients that are missing multiple teeth in a row. Instead of replacing each missing tooth with an implant, an implant-supported bridge uses two implants to restore a gap of missing teeth. The two implants are inserted on either side of the gap, and the bridge is attached between the implants to replace the missing teeth. While an implant-supported bridge is less secure than a dental implant, the procedure is less costly and invasive than replacing each missing tooth with an implant.
In a tooth-supported bridge, teeth are used instead of implants to secure the bridge. Crowns are attached to the abutment teeth or the teeth on either side of the gap. The bridge is then cemented to the crowns. A tooth-supported bridge is a great option for patients that do not have the required jawbone density to receive an implant or do not wish to undergo surgery.
Dentures can be used to replace up to a full set of a patient’s teeth. Dentures do not require surgery or a procedure to insert, making them the most affordable of the options for replacing missing teeth. However, dentures also must be removed daily from the patient’s mouth for cleaning and can lead to jawbone degradation.
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Choosing the right tooth replacement
Consult your dentist for guidance in choosing the right tooth replacement. Your dentist will conduct an interview and a dental exam to determine which option suits you. Dental implants are the most secure option but require healthy gum and jawbone tissue. Implant-supported and tooth-supported bridges can replace multiple teeth at a time, and dentures are an affordable option for those who wish to avoid surgery.
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