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Replacement options for missing teeth have advanced significantly over the years. Finding solutions to fix missing or lost teeth is absolutely necessary because of the health concerns that having missing teeth can create.
However, with multiple treatment options available to restore your smile, you may want to consider doing some research first. Talk with your dentist to find the right treatment option.
Here are a few things to consider before you make a decision about your tooth restoration treatment.
If you have missing teeth that should be replaced, it is in your best interest to see a dentist as soon as possible. When the gaps that formerly held your teeth are left alone, they can cause serious health problems that can only worsen over time.
These problems may include:
Tooth Shifting: When you have lost a tooth, the adjacent teeth begin to drift into the open gap, which can move all of your teeth out of alignment. Not only will your teeth become crooked, but the shifted teeth may also make it more difficult for you to eat, drink, and maintain good oral hygiene.
Bone Loss: After a tooth has been lost, the bone of the tooth socket immediately begins to disappear back into to the body in a process known as resorption. As a result, if you do not replace the teeth immediately, you will likely require a bone graft before your missing teeth can be replaced with a dental implant.
Face Shape Alterations: Bone loss extends to your jawbone when you lose teeth because your teeth are needed to prevent jawbone deterioration. The longer you go without your teeth, the more pronounced the face shape changes will become. You may end up having sunken cheeks and generally looking older than your actual age.
Gum Disease: The most dangerous part about having a missing tooth or teeth is the fact that it can make you more susceptible to gum disease. Food and other foreign particles can end up trapped in your gums, becoming nearly impossible to remove with a toothbrush or floss. As plaque and bacteria build up, tooth decay and periodontal disease may also set in.
Now that you understand the dangers of having missing teeth, it is time to discuss your options for replacing your teeth. Typically, a dental implant treatment or tooth-retained bridge are presented as two options for restoring your smile. However, which option is the best choice?
Very often dental implants are recommended as the ideal option for restoring missing teeth. However, you may also want to consider the differences between that versus a dental bridge, especially if both options are available to you.
Overview. A dental implant is a surgical fixture that is inserted into the jawbone so that it can fuse with the bone. The dental implant is designed to replace the roots of missing teeth. It can hold replacement teeth or a bridge.
Benefits. Dental implants generally have a very high success rate. Research has found that the success rates are around 98%, which is the highest of any option for tooth-replacement. Even in cases where the patient has low bone density, success is still quite high.
With proper care, dental implant restorations are designed to last a lifetime. You will have a permanent restoration that does not put any adjacent natural teeth at risk. Dental implants can be cared for just like your natural teeth with regular oral care. However, a more meticulous oral care regime is required to ensure that flossing is done under every false tooth.
Drawbacks. Not all patients are eligible for this procedure. The patient must have adequate bone density, bone height and overall health in order to be considered for this treatment. In addition, if the patient has suffered bone loss due to teeth that have been missing for months or years, the patient may be required to undergo bone grafts prior to the insertion of a dental implant. The bone graft is a separate procedure that will require several months of healing before implants can be placed.
Although it is very rare, dental implants can also fail, meaning that the patient’s jawbone has not properly fused with the dental implant. This failure can lead to infection and will require a second procedure in order to ensure that the dental implant is not rejected.
If you are considering a tooth-retained bridge as an option for replacing your missing teeth, here is what you should know.
Overview. A tooth-retained bridge is made up of at least two crowns, with one on each end. A false tooth or multiple teeth are in between the ends of the tooth-retained bridge. With a tooth-retained bridge, the adjacent teeth must be prepped by removing the majority of the enamel in order to fabricate the bridge. The bridge is then supported by your natural teeth.
Benefits. A tooth-retained bridge could be the best option for you if the neighboring teeth have large fillings and will likely require crowns or caps in the future.
Drawbacks. Since some of your natural tooth remains in place, normal wear can cause the bridge to fail over time. In addition, the remaining portion of your natural tooth is also more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
The cost of a tooth-retained bridge is much less than a dental implant, at first. However, a tooth-retained bridge may require replacement at some point in the future. The average life of a dental bridge is generally only 10 years. If one or more teeth that hold the bridge fails or becomes non-restorable, a replacement bridge will require more teeth to be prepped, which will put them at risk once again for decay or damage.
Dental implants are a newer procedure and have become more commonplace in recent years. They also generally offer better results in terms of time and expense. Since every smile restoration procedure is unique, you may require one or several procedures before you can effectively restore your missing teeth.
The advantages and disadvantages of each of these procedures should be discussed with your dentist. If you are interested in learning more about options available to restore your missing teeth, click here or call 225-399-4521 to schedule your free consultation with an implant dentist now.