You might think of a missing tooth as an inconvenience or a detriment to your smile, but it can be more than a bothersome gap. Missing teeth can make eating, drinking, and speaking clearly more difficult. And, left untreated, it increases your risk for developing more complicated oral health problems including:
- Mental and emotional stress
- Periodontitis, or gum disease
- Bone loss in the jaw
- Movement or migration of your existing teeth
- A gradual shift in your facial structure
Fortunately, recent advancements in dental technology offer effective solutions to replace missing teeth, restoring the health and beauty of your smile.
How to Fix Missing or Broken Teeth
Implants, full and partial dentures, and fixed bridges are the three most popular remedies for fixing or replacing missing teeth. Here are the pros and cons of each procedure.
Increasingly becoming the preferred choice, dental implants are designed to replace one or more missing teeth with zero impact to the surrounding healthy teeth. Unlike with bridges, where it’s often necessary to remove some of the structure of adjacent teeth to affix the bridge, implants use small titanium posts that are placed in the gum tissue where they serve as an artificial tooth root. Custom made porcelain replacement teeth are then attached to the posts giving a seamless appearance with your natural teeth.
One of the greatest advantages to implants is that they function just like your natural teeth. You can chew and speak with ease and your normal home dental routine of brushing and flossing is all the care they require. Implants also eventually fuse to your jaw bone and become a permanent part of your mouth. The only requirement for the procedure is that your jaw bone have sufficient density.
Full and Partial Dentures
Not everyone chooses dental implants. They might not be able to have the treatment done or they might prefer something less invasive. Dentures are a dental implant alternative that have been around for many years. Depending on your needs, you might receive a full mouth or partial denture.
- Full mouth dentures are designed to replace both your upper and lower arches of teeth and they’re an excellent choice if you’re planning to have all your teeth removed due to disease or damage. While they’re an effective tooth replacement option that allow you to chew more naturally then you could with heavily damaged teeth or just gums, they are not the same as your natural teeth or dental implants, so you might be limited on what you can eat.
- Partial dentures consist of several replacement teeth and are attached to a plastic base that matches the color of your gums, which helps the partial blend in with your other teeth. Though they are easy to remove for cleaning, they are sometimes uncomfortable and might require frequent repair.
As their name suggests, these dental devices are fixed in place with a special bonding material which helps them function more like your natural teeth; you don’t have to worry about the bridge coming loose in your mouth as you would with dentures. You can brush and floss as normal, though it might require a more involved cleaning process. A bridge can only be removed by your dentist.
Missing all of your Teeth?
But what about if you’re missing all your teeth? It’s totally possible to have a bright, natural smile despite your missing teeth. And the best news is it can be done in a single day using dental implants.
Dentures will be directly tightened to your new implants and allow you to eat anything you want. Unlike outdated dentures, dental implants give you freedom and flexibility. It’s the closest thing to natural teeth available.
You don’t have to live with the inconvenience of missing teeth! To talk to a dentist about your tooth replacement options, schedule a consultation with Richard C. Caven, D.M.D. today.