Whether you had a tooth knocked out from an athletic event or had an unfortunate accident that caused a large chip or break, missing teeth can cause a real sense of panic for anybody. The anxiety caused by the eyesore of a missing tooth and the potential costs associated with getting it fixed is certainly strong.
Fortunately, however, there are solutions that allow you to replace your missing teeth without taking out a second mortgage. Here is a look at what some of them are.
1. Dental Implant
If your tooth has been completely knocked out, a dental implant is considered to be the best overall restorative option. When you receive a dental implant, your dentist or oral surgeon will place a titanium implant into your jawbone, which will serve as your new tooth root. Following a short healing period, a restoration (usually a crown or bridge) is placed on the implant and full function and aesthetics is restored. Once restored, a dental implant feels and acts very much the same way that a normal tooth would, which is why it is such a popular method for replacing missing teeth.
A provisional removable partial denture, or “Flipper” is considered to be a temporary option for individuals that have lost a tooth. Generally speaking, your bones and gums will need some time to heal prior to placement of any long term restoration such as an implant or bridge. This is where a flipper can be most valuable.
A flipper is basically a removable denture that can fill in for the spot where your tooth is missing for weeks or months. It is fairly inexpensive and can usually be fabricated in just a day or two. Flippers are not designed to be long-term restorations, simply cosmetic and functional provisional solutions until the area is ready for definitive treatment.
3. Dental Bridges
A bridge is another option to replace missing tooth/teeth. Bridges are fixed restorations, meaning they are cemented in place and do not have to be taken out like partial dentures. With this procedure, the teeth on either side of the site of missing teeth are prepared for a bridge similar to preparing a tooth for a crown.
Once this is done, your dentist will take an impression of the teeth surrounding the missing tooth and send it to a lab. There, they will manufacture a natural looking bridge that is meant to be cemented in place and remain there for years. Bridges are a solid option for restoration of missing teeth but they do have some downsides not associated with dental implants.
Firstly, while most implants will remain in place for your lifetime, bridges will usually need to be replaced about every 10 years or so due to decay at the margins where they are cemented to the supporting teeth. Secondly, while implants are independent of adjacent teeth, bridges involve some drilling on the adjacent teeth (which may be otherwise healthy) and are only as strong as the supporting teeth themselves. Finally, while implants are free standing and allow normal brushing and flossing, maintenance of a bridge, while easily accomplished, can be a bit more complicated due to the fact that it is one solid restoration spanning the space occupied normally by several teeth and special flossing techniques are required.
4. Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are generally used as an option when an individual has multiple teeth missing. This option requires that the non-missing teeth are healthy as they will be used to support the partial denture. While they are a fairly low cost option, they do not provide the natural look and feel that you will get with bridges or implants. Dentures, both partial and complete, are removable and patients are encouraged to remove them every night before bed. Because they are not fixed in place like an implant or bridge, they are generally not as strong and stable for chewing.
5. Complete Dentures
If you are missing a majority of your teeth and your remaining teeth are not healthy, complete dentures are available. This option involves the use of an acrylic structure that is custom made to fit and adapt to the individual’s jaw and replace the entire complement of teeth. These tend to be the least stable form of tooth replacement since there are no remaining teeth to help support the appliance, and implants are often used in conjunction with a denture to provide this needed support.
Interested in replacing your missing tooth in Fairfax? Call Nagle Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today!