Whether you lost a tooth that has fallen out of its own accord, or we have no choice but to recommend an extraction, you are probably in the market for a tooth replacement option.
While it is entirely possible to live with a gap or two in your smile, most patients find that after a time, they simply don’t want to anymore. From affecting the way that you bite and chew to making you feel embarrassed when you open your mouth in public, the effects of tooth loss are worse than you may initially think. Many people who have noticeable gaps in their teeth agree that the emotional consequences of tooth loss are just as difficult to live with if not more so, and they will do everything in their power to avoid drawing attention to their mouths, covering them with their hands when they speak or laugh, or closing them when someone tries to take a photograph of them smiling.
Fortunately, there are several options available that can fill the gaps left by missing teeth and give you back a healthy and attractive smile.
In the meantime, here is everything that you need to know about the two most common tooth loss solutions available – dental bridges and dental implants.
Dental bridges have been successfully used to fill the gap left by missing teeth for a long time. As their name suggests, their design literally bridges the space, filling it with a prosthetic tooth that is usually made from porcelain which is attached to metal or acrylic framework. To hold the prosthetic in place, crowns are placed over the top of healthy teeth that are either side of the gap. For this reason, a dental bridge is only a possibility if there are healthy teeth surrounding the gap. While it is possible to place a bridge that only has support on one side, these typically do not last anywhere near as long as a fully-supported bridge.
Dental bridges offer patients the following advantages:
- Widely suitable for most patients.
- A cost-effective way to restore your smile.
- Minimally-invasive procedure.
- Natural appearance of your smile, particularly if you choose acrylic framework.
Nevertheless, there are also some disadvantages associated with this type of tooth loss solution, including:
- Bridges are tricky to clean, a problem which could affect your oral health.
- They place pressure on the supporting teeth, which could eventually cause them to shift position slightly, crack or worse.
- Bridges require a fair amount of maintenance, and you may need to visit your dentist fairly often to keep your bridge in good condition.
Dental implants are a much newer and increasingly popular tooth replacement solution. The main reason for this is their unique design which is largely considered to be more superior and successful.
Dental implants use a titanium post which is inserted into the jaw bone as the base for the procedure. The bone grows back around the post, holding it securely in place. Attached to this post is a special connector that attaches to a porcelain crown that sits in the gap left by the missing tooth.
There are numerous benefits to choosing dental implants including:
- Improved strength and durability of the solution – implants often last 20+ years.
- No pressure or effect on surrounding healthy teeth.
- Minimal maintenance is required.
- Dental implants are arguably the most natural-looking of any other tooth loss solution.
Nevertheless, there are several considerations that patients will need to be aware of.
- For dental implants to be successful they are reliant on your jaw bone being sufficiently healthy. This will be assessed at your consultation.
- The procedure to receive dental implants can be lengthy and is highly invasive.
- Dental implants are the most expensive tooth-loss treatment available. However, since they are long-lasting, many patients agree that they are a worthwhile investment.
If you would like to know more about either of the options listed above, contact our offices with your query or schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and dedicated team today at 480-405-1300.