Replacing Missing Teeth? 3 Ways to Get Your Smile Back.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you already know how much it negatively impacts your quality of life.
When you’re missing teeth, everyday activities are more challenging. You struggle to eat and chew your food properly. Your speech may be impaired.
Worst of all, you feel self-conscious and ashamed of your missing teeth and avoid smiling.
There’s no doubt that you’d love to get your complete smile back.
Of all the replacement solutions, what is the best option for replacing missing teeth?
Our dental experts are here with all the details. Read on!
(Hint: We aren’t afraid to play favorites).
Teeth replacement options: a quick overview
There are three main types of teeth replacement solutions:
Each has its pros and cons, depending on your goals and unique needs.
Let’s explore each of these options so you can consider what’s best for you.
A dental bridge acts just like it sounds, creating a “bridge” across the gap created by your missing tooth.
It works like this:
Your dentist will prepare the teeth adjacent to the gap to act as anchors for the bridge. Then an artificial tooth is placed in the gap and secured in place by the supporting teeth.
Placing a dental bridge usually takes several visits to complete.
How do bridges compare to the other teeth replacement solutions?
Advantages of bridges:
- Look, feel, and function just like your natural tooth
- Usually cost less than implants
- No need to remove to clean
- Permanent solution
Disadvantages of bridges:
- Can negatively affect or require altering of the surrounding teeth that support the bridge
- Can be difficult to clean under the bridge
- Doesn’t protect the underlying bone from degradation
Dentures are another popular teeth-replacement solution, usually reserved for when a person has many missing teeth.
Dentures are either a partial or full set of artificial teeth. They have a fixed plastic base that matches the color of your gums.
Dentures can either be removable or fixed in place by implants. Removable dentures lock into place via a clasping mechanism and are typically taken out at night.
While dentures can be a great solution for some people, they aren’t ideal for everyone. Here are some things to consider with removable dentures:
- Usually less expensive than bridges or implants
- Easier to repair than bridges
- May be less stable and permanent than bridges, implants, or implant-supported dentures
- Some people find them to be annoyingly “slippery” in their mouths
- If the fit is poor, it can be uncomfortable
- Embarrassment from falling out or removing them
- May need frequent replacement and repair
- Doesn’t preserve the underlying jawbone structure
Dental Implants are our very favorite teeth-replacement option for a good reason: They’re truly the closest thing you can get to your natural teeth.
An implant is surgically placed in your jawbone where your tooth root used to be. After several months of healing, your natural bone will grow around the implant, creating a stable and permanent foundation.
Your implant is capped with a beautiful new crown, completing your fully restored tooth!
Dental Implants are the only solution for replacing missing teeth that completely restores your tooth from root to tip.
Why is this so important?
One of the major risks of losing a tooth is jawbone deterioration.
All bones require regular stimulation to maintain a healthy density and strength. That’s one of the many reasons why exercise is so important, and why weight training is often recommended to people who have osteoporosis.
Your jawbone is no exception. When you lose a tooth, the underlying bone structure no longer gets the stimulation it needs from chewing and quickly starts to lose density…Opens in a new window to article about bone loss….
This can lead to a host of other oral health issues and cause your teeth to shift. It also creates a “sunken-in” look to your face, making you appear older.
This issue is a key reason why dental implants are considered the number one tooth-replacement solution – they completely replace the root and keep your jawbone healthy.
For patients who need many teeth restored, implants can also support fixed dentures.
Dental Implants are a great solution for many people, but there are certain scenarios where bridges or dentures are a better option. Here are some points to consider:
- Most durable, long-lasting, and permanent of all tooth replacement solutions
- Completely natural look and feel
- No special cleaning required
- Preserve the underlying jawbone
- Nearby teeth are not negatively affected or altered
- Typically the most costly solution
- Requires surgery, which may not be right for everyone
- May take longer and require more initial visits than bridges or dentures
- Not everyone is an appropriate candidate for dental implants
We hope this overview helped you better understand your options for replacing missing teeth.
Ultimately, your dentist can professionally evaluate your situation and work with you to make the best choice for your needs.
No matter what solution you decide, Dr. Kris Johnson at Harbour Pointe Family Dentistry can help you out. He is a restorative dentistry expert, making him a top choice for bridges, dentures, and dental implants in Mukilteo, WA.
We also serve surrounding communities in the Puget Sound area, including Mill Creek, Edmonds, Boulevard Bluffs, Picnic Point, Evergreen, Perrinville, and Snohomish.
Schedule your consultation today!
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