You Always Have Options for Replacing a Lost Tooth
If you have recently lost a tooth or have been missing one for a long time and are just tired of how its ruining your smile you’ve got several options. The thing you don’t want to do is nothing. Replacing a lost tooth is vital for maintaining maximum function, maintaining the alignment of the surrounding teeth and keeping your facial contours from altering.
The teeth are important place holders for each other and over time a missing tooth can allow the adjacent teeth to begin to drift to fill the space causing you more problematic issues in the future. Today we are going to discuss some of the more common options you have for a missing tooth and what factors are the most important in deciding which one will be right for you.
Undoubtedly the gold standard for any tooth replacement is a dental implant. A dental implant is a permanent synthetic dental root made out of titanium in which a crown is attached. The implant does require a healthy jawbone for implantation which can be problematic for some individuals but with bone grafts the population that can successfully undergo a dental implant procedure is quite large.
Aesthetic, functional, reliable
Stimulates the jaw bone to remodel and rebuild
Does not compromise the integrity of adjacent teeth
Decreased risk of periodontal (gum) disease compared with a bridge
More expensive than a bridge (but more durable so it could be more cost effective long term)
Requires minor surgery and healing time before placement of a permanent crown
Fixed Partial Denture
A fixed partial denture was the standard approach before implants became commonplace. A fixed partial denture is where the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth are crowned and the crowns support a false tooth or “pontic” which fits in the missing space in your smile.
Provides normal function and aesthetics
Less wait time than with implants
Less expensive than implants
Damage to abutting teeth (must be shaped to accommodate the crown)
Greater susceptibility to tooth decay
Jawbone beneath the pontic may deteriorate over time
Removable Partial Denture
A Removable Partial Denture is an artificial tooth anchored into plastic. It is attached to a metal clasp that hooks onto your adjacent natural teeth.
Least expensive option
Greater susceptibility for gum disease and tooth decay
Usually results in teeth becoming loose
May have stability and comfort issues
May not fit right over time due to changes in the jawbone
Jawbone underneath may deteriorate over time