If you have lost a tooth or a few to trauma, decay, or extraction, it can be overwhelming to think of your next steps. It is important to talk with your dentist about your options moving forward. You need to replace your missing teeth; otherwise, your teeth may shift and create problems.
It is not just a matter of aesthetics regarding missing teeth. Many patients may choose to replace their teeth because they are concerned about their smile, but there are significant consequences to having unreplaced missing teeth.
All of your teeth work together, so when you lose a tooth, they are unable to operate efficiently. Without your teeth sitting tightly, your teeth can begin to shift, causing bite problems, hygiene issues, or even bone loss. It is imperative that you replace your missing teeth, but you should know and understand your options.
What Are Your Tooth Replacement Options?
A common replacement option is a dental implant. Dental implants are types of prosthetic tooth structures that are surgically placed in your mouth. Implants are permanent and not removable, and they can be used for a single tooth replacement or multiple.
While the process of getting implants may be lengthy and more complicated than others, dental implants look and feel like natural teeth. With proper care and attention, implants can last a lifetime.
Rather than a tooth root, you will have a metal screw that anchors the implant in place. Before placing the prosthetic on the screw, the new root has to heal completely, which can take a few months. The implant has to fuse to the jawbone in order to continue with the process.
Since dental implants fuse to the jaw, it is one of the most secure tooth replacement options. Once the implant completely heals, the dentist places a crown on the screw. It is possible, yet unlikely, that your mouth may reject the implant.
Dental implants can be pricey, costing between $1,000-$6,000. It is one of the most expensive replacement options, but they last much longer. Cost and recovery time may be significant factors in your decision.
Non-Invasive Restorative Dental Options
If the time and cost of a dental implant don’t work for you, there are less invasive and removable options available. Bridges literally bridge the gap between your teeth. They can replace one or several teeth at a time. Dentists can easily repair bridges if needed, and they require no surgery, making them much less painful or invasive.
Unlike dental implants, bridges may need to be replaced over time and could potentially damage your supporting teeth if they are not fitted properly. With bridges, it may be more difficult to keep clean, which increases your chances of developing tooth decay or infection.
Partial dentures are another option to replace your missing teeth. Patients must remove and clean their dentures daily. Compared to bridges and implants, dentures look less like your natural teeth. However, dentures are the most cost-friendly and simple procedure.