Missing Teeth Replacement Options

145 Missing Teeth – Missing Teeth Replacement Options (2 of 5)

Most patients are aware that their teeth are incredibly important. Healthy teeth give a patient confidence in their smile, but are also a critical aspect of good health. When patients are missing one or more teeth, it can make routine tasks such as speaking and eating a challenge.

Tooth decay is an incredibly common issue for adults who are between 20 and 64 years old. Gum disease is another oral health issue which is quite prevalent and can result in tooth loss. There are many patients who are missing one or more of their permanent teeth. Modern dentistry has fortunately made significant advancements in the number of options for replacing missing teeth. Below is a summary of the treatments which can be used to restore missing teeth.

Dental Implants
The placement of a dental implant is a surgical procedure. During the procedure, the implant post is surgically placed in the jawbone. During the healing process, this artificial root fuses to the jawbone, providing an incredibly strong and secure base. Once the jaw has healed, the crown is placed to give the implant a natural, tooth-like appearance. Dental implants are an exceptional tooth-replacement solution. They are arguably the best solution for restoring the function and appearance of a tooth. In addition, they can last for decades when they are properly cared for. Because dental implants require a surgical component and high quality materials, they are also quite expensive.

Fixed Bridge
A fixed bridge works by bridging the gap which exists as the result of one or more missing teeth. When a patient is receiving a fixed bridge, they typically have to make numerous trips to the dentist. If an implant is being used to secure the bridge, the patient will need to undergo the surgical placement of the implant as mentioned above. The bridge also needs to be customized and placed. In some cases, the dental professional may need to make modifications to the bridge. Once a bridge is in place, it looks, feels and functions similar to the natural teeth. One benefit is that the bridge does not require removal for cleaning and is cleaned just like the natural teeth. When a bridge is being used to replace multiple missing teeth, it is more affordable than an implant.

Resin-retained Bridge
A resin-retained bridge is far less invasive tooth-replacement solution. Fixed bridges are ideal for teeth which sustain the strong forces from chewing, however, resin-retained bridges are a good alternative for non-chewing teeth. Resin-retained bridges are attached to the teeth on each side of the missing tooth. While they are not as durable as an implant or fixed bridge, they also are far less expensive.

Removable Partial Denture
A removable partial denture contains prosthetic teeth for patients who are missing multiple teeth in a row. Removable partial dentures work well for chewing and restore the appearance of missing teeth, however, they are quite a bit less durable compared to implants or bridges. Some patients find removable partial dentures to cause some discomfort when they are worn for extended periods of time. This is typically the least expensive tooth-replacement treatment option available. While it is far less durable, it is also easy to repair in the event it is damaged.

Removable Complete Denture
A removable complete denture is used to replace most or all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. This treatment option can be fairly invasive and require that patients make numerous trips to the dentist. One disadvantage of removable dentures is that they must be removed daily for cleaning. They effectively restore the function and appearance of missing teeth and are an affordable solution. Similar to removal partial dentures, complete dentures can slip, fit poorly, and be uncomfortable to wear. Because dentures rest on top of the gums, patients are also at risk for bone loss in their jawbone.

Patients should follow up with their dentist to discuss their options for the replacement of missing teeth.