What Are My Options for Replacing a Missing Tooth?
If you are missing a tooth there are several options available to replace the missing tooth. Replacing your tooth is optional, but not doing so can leave an unsightly gap between your teeth that can make it difficult to chew. Over time, nearby teeth will also begin to shift into the empty space, affecting the overall shape of your bite and your gums.
If you decide to replace your missing tooth, here are some of the options available to you:
A bridge is a replacement option that uses your natural teeth adjacent to your missing tooth as a support for a false tooth/teeth in between. A bridge works by contouring the two teeth at the end of the gap where your tooth is missing. The natural teeth are contoured so that a crown can be fitted on top of each tooth. These teeth are called the abutment teeth, and they will support a false tooth in between, known as the pontic tooth.
A bridge is a good procedure to consider if the teeth adjacent to your missing tooth already require a crown for other dental reasons. However, if your adjacent teeth don't require a crown, a bridge might create more harm than good to your adjacent teeth by reducing them unnecessarily. Also keep in mind that with a bridge, if your adjacent teeth are lost for any reason, such as tooth decay, then the entire bridge will be lost as well.
Partial or Complete Dentures
Dentures are false teeth that are removable. Complete dentures are used to replace all the missing teeth on your jaw, while partial dentures are used to replace one or a few missing teeth.
If you are only missing a tooth or several teeth, you can consider getting a partial denture. A partial denture holds false teeth on a metal or plastic frame and comes with hooks and rests that help to fit the denture snuggly around your adjacent teeth.
Dentures need to be removed each night so that they can be thoroughly cleaned, and so your gums can rest and have adequate access to oxygen at night.
A dental implant is made up of two parts: the implant and the crown. The implant works as an anchor in your gums, and it is placed and secured into the area of your gum where your tooth is missing. A crown, which serves as the replacement tooth, is placed onto the implant to complete the outer appearance of your tooth.
A dental implant feels and looks like a normal tooth would, and it also functions just as efficiently. Dental implants are a great option for anyone who wants to replace a missing tooth without affecting any adjacent teeth, and dental implants also do not need to be removed and cleaned each night.
Which Option Do I Choose?
The ideal treatment option for you can depend on a variety of factors which include your finances, concerns, and personal preferences. Speak to your dentist for further guidance on which treatment option is the most suitable for you.