A missing tooth can change the appearance of your smile because they are natural-looking, natural-acting and natural-feeling. Whether a missing tooth is the result of an injury, severe tooth decay, or a genetic condition, a missing tooth can cause many problems.
Regardless of how you lost your tooth, it can impact the alignment of your teeth over time and cause you oral health problems later on if not replaced. Missing teeth can affect your speech, ability to chew your food, the integrity of your jawbone, and cause the slow shifting of your teeth into some of the empty spaces.
Dental implant technology has become the state-of-the-art tooth replacement solution because of its advantages over earlier treatments. Most patients who have implants can’t tell the difference between their natural teeth and the implant tooth.
1. Dental implants
A dental implant is a high-tech replacement tooth that mimics the entire tooth structure. A titanium implant is inserted into the bone and is used to support a crown, bridge or denture. It looks, feels and acts like a real tooth and can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
The process of placing your dental implant can be lengthy. It begins with the replacement of your tooth’s root with a titanium screw, which will be used as an anchor for the crown placed on top. Once the screws have been put into place, you will need to allow the implant to heal for a few months, during which time, the implant becomes securely fused to your jawbone. Once the implant heals quickly the dental crown will be placed on top and secured to the implant.
- Pros of Dental Implants
- Dental Implants behave like natural teeth
- Dental Implants can last a lifetime
- Dental Implants prevent bone loss
- Dental Implants keep adjacent teeth stable
- Dental Implants can help keep you free of gum disease
- Dental Implants can prevent facial sagging and premature aging
- Cons of Dental Implants
- One of the most expensive tooth replacement options
- Price ranges anywhere from $2500 to $6500.
- The titanium implant requires significant healing time .
2. Dental implants vs. dental bridges
A Dental Implant is a more affordable and natural replacement than a dental bridge. A bridge consists of a false tooth (or teeth) supported by adjacent teeth that have been capped. It’s used to replace one or two missing teeth. A bridge requires two healthy teeth to be altered, which is not an ideal way of replacing a missing tooth compared to a dental implant.
Bridges tend to have shorter lives, five to ten years, compared to dental implants. So while a bridge can sometimes be more economical at first, in the long run a dental implant can cost you less. With an implant-supported bridge, only the teeth at the two ends are secured in place with implants. The teeth in the middle of the two ends are held in place without any screwing.
- Pros of Implant-Supported Bridges
- Economical choice for replacing several missing teeth in a row.
- The dental bridge is as effective as a dental implant.
- They provide a natural look.
- Cons of Implant-Supported Bridges
- Can only be used when you have several missing teeth in a row.
- Implant-supported bridges are not a permanent solution, and the bridges will need to be replaced at some point.
- The placement of an implant-supported bridge requires several visits to the dentist.
3. Tooth-supported bridge
A tooth-supported bridge uses your existing teeth to support the placement of a bridge, rather than placing two implants into your teeth. A crown is placed on the teeth, which are next to the missing ones and cemented into place. The procedure is completed over a few visits.
- Pros of Tooth-Supported Bridges
- A tooth-supported bridge provides the same realistic look and feel of that of a dental implant.
- There is no surgery required, so the process is less invasive.
- A tooth-supported bridge is a more economical option compared to dental implants.
- Cons of Tooth-Supported Bridges
- Adjacent teeth receiving the crowns will need to be filed to the appropriate size for the crown fit which may increases chances of infection.
- The adjoining teeth can be damaged over time if the bridge is poorly fitted.
- Food particles can slip underneath the bridge and become harder to clean.
- Improper cleaning will create a greater risk of infection and bone loss.
4. Implant supported dentures
Implant supported dentures are a permanent tooth replacement solution for patients who have lost their upper or lower teeth. They provide greater stability and chewing power than conventional dentures. Usually, four to eight implants are surgically placed deep in your jawbone. Then your dentist attaches the dentures to the implants.
They stay firmly in place and allow you to eat foods that traditional dentures don’t and provides the most natural and effective bite. This is because the jawbone absorbs the full force of the bite reducing pressure on the gums.
Implant retained dentures can either be removable or temporary. Candidates will need a large amount of high-quality bone in their jaw for this procedure. Not all patients will be able to get this surgery. Additional procedures such as a bone graft may be necessary.
Implant retained (removable) dentures typically require two to four implants. These dentures also need to be removed and cleaned every night.
- Pros of implant supported dentures include:
- Fixed implant dentures feel and look natural in your mouth.
- Implants make it easy to speak, smile, and chew.
- Implants provide you with the best bite, so you can enjoy more types of food.
- Implants prevent jawbone tissue loss and gum damage.
- Implants last much longer than any other treatment.
- Taking care of implants is very similar to cleaning your natural teeth.
- Cons of implant supported dentures include:
- Implant supported dentures cost significantly more than traditional dentures.
- Most insurance plans don’t cover implants.
- The implant procedure takes approximately two to six months to complete.
- Patients who don’t have enough jawbone density may require a bone graft or may not be qualified for this treatment.
Options For Replacing Missing Teeth
There are many options to address missing teeth, whether the it was lost through injury, gum disease, or decay. Your dentist can help you select the right solution for your needs and budget. At Stonelodge Dental, our team of highly trained and dedicated professionals can help guide you towards the best solution for your missing teeth.
Dr. Prida is committed to helping you and your family maintain excellent oral health for life. If you are missing a tooth or teeth and would like more information about your options, schedule an appointment online or call 214-613-1500 today.