If you’re missing teeth, you’re not alone. Anything from a sports injury to tooth decay can cause teeth to fall out, leaving noticeable gaps behind. Of course, this negatively affects appearance, which can lower self-confidence. Missing teeth may also cause oral health problems, such as the following:
- Difficulty chewing or speaking
- Headaches and facial pain
- Tooth decay and gum disease
- Misaligned teeth
- Jawbone deterioration
Your teeth facilitate chewing and help maintain the overall shape of your face. Even just one missing tooth can cause your jawbone to weaken over time, leading to pain, sagging skin and facial changes. Fortunately, there are tooth replacements available. In this article, we’ll go over the top solutions and how the Dental Excellence team can help restore your smile.
Treatments for Missing Teeth
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, there’s no universal answer. Rather, the Dental Excellence team will evaluate each individual patient, then devise a treatment plan tailored to their needs. Below is a list of popular tooth replacement options and their respective pros and cons.
1) Dental Implants
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that’s implanted directly into the jawbone. The result is a false tooth that looks, feels and functions just like a real one. To install the implant, the Dental Excellence team will begin by making a small cut in the gum (which exposes the underlying bone tissue). If the bone is strong enough to support an implant, the team will drill holes to install the roots. Patients with weak jawbones will need a bone grafting procedure before they can receive implants.
Benefits of dental implants include:
- Natural appearance
- Easy maintenance
Not only do dental implants look completely natural, but they’re also extremely secure. They’re anchored into the jawbone, which means you don’t have to worry about the implant suddenly falling out while eating or conversing. As an added perk, they’re designed to last your whole life.
Downsides to dental implants include:
- Require surgery
- Not for everyone
Dental implants require incisions, which some patients may consider invasive. Moreover, they’re not suitable for everyone. For example, if you have a weak jawbone, you’ll have to undergo other procedures before you can even become a candidate for implants.
Who Are Dental Implants Best For?
Due to their natural appearance, durability and long-lasting nature, dental implants tend to be the top option for most patients looking for tooth replacements. They’re the best choice if you have a strong jawbone and don’t mind undergoing a surgical procedure.
Dentures are an artificial set of teeth designed to replicate the real thing. They come in two main varieties: fixed and removable. Fixed dentures remain in your mouth with the help of adhesives, while removable dentures can be put in and taken out at will. Patients can also choose between full dentures (which replace all teeth) and partial dentures (which fill in smaller gaps). The procedure for getting dentures is simple — after obtaining a mold of your teeth and jaw, the Dental Excellence team will craft a custom set for you.
Here are a few pros of dentures:
- Simple procedure
- Suitable for everyone
- Easy maintenance
Along with offering a fairly simple installation process, dentures are available to most patients (including those with weak jawbones). They’re also easy to take care of — fixed dentures can be maintained with regular brushing and flossing, while removable dentures can be cleaned with water.
Here are a few cons of dentures:
- Require replacements
- Lack of stability
- Prone to slippage
Unlike permanent fixtures such as dental implants, dentures need to be replaced. On average, they can last around seven to ten years. Moreover, dentures aren’t always stable — hard or sticky foods can inflict damage on them or even cause them to fall out.
Who Are Dentures Best For?
For patients who are missing most or all of their teeth, dentures are the most convenient option. For patients who are missing just a few teeth, dental implants are better, as they’re more stable and permanent. However, if you don’t want to experience surgery, partial dentures might be preferable.
3) Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are simple yet effective solutions that fill gaps using the adjacent teeth. To install bridges, the Dental Excellence team will shave down the two teeth next to the gap, then fit crowns over them. An artificial tooth is secured between the crowns, consequently concealing the gap. The result is a secure, false tooth that emulates the appearance and bite force of a real tooth.
Advantages of dental bridges include:
- Simple procedure
Similar to dentures, the procedure for getting dental bridges is fairly non-invasive. Once the bridge is in place, it can last for over 15 years (provided you follow proper brushing and flossing techniques). Dental bridges are also stable, so you don’t have to worry about them suddenly falling out.
Disadvantages of dental bridges include:
- Impact on healthy teeth
- Risk of jawbone deterioration
What sets dental bridges apart from other tooth replacements is the fact that they affect normal, healthy teeth. Not only are regular teeth shaved down, but they’re also covered by crowns, which can increase the risk of tooth decay (especially if the crowns aren’t fitted properly). Furthermore, dental bridges aren’t always effective in deterring jawbone deterioration.
Who Are Dental Bridges Best For?
Dental bridges are a popular option among patients who want something more secure than dentures, but less invasive than dental implants. Since they also impact your regular teeth, they’re best if you have only one missing tooth.
Contact the Dental Excellence Team Today
Tooth gaps are no laughing matter. Even just one missing tooth can have long-term consequences for your oral health. At our dental practice, we offer high-quality tooth replacements that effectively replicate real teeth. Whether you’re looking for dental implants, dentures or just a consultation, our team can help. Schedule an appointment today to learn more!