Tooth Replacement Options
There is a reason why the average human mouth is usually blessed with 32 individual teeth. Each tooth in a person’s mouth contributes to his ability to eat, speak, and smile. Therefore, when an individual suddenly finds himself without one of his teeth, the results can be both physically and socially uncomfortable. After all, imagine how embarrassed you’d be to flash a smile during a party, only to reveal a big, gaping hole right smack in the middle of your mouth. And even if you’re “fortunate” enough to be missing a tooth in a less conspicuous area such as the back of your mouth, you can still suffer from the result of an absent tooth.
Since every tooth in your mouth plays a role in maintaining the proper alignment of the rest of your teeth, if you suddenly find yourself without a tooth, then you’ll need to do something about it. Even if the gap left over by a missing tooth is located in a place where no one but your dentist is bound to look, you should still pursue tooth replacement to ensure that the absence of a tooth doesn’t put undue stress on the nearby teeth and gums. (While a missing tooth can certainly be aggravating, gum issues — comparatively-speaking — are definitely no picnic).
So what choices do you have for tooth replacement? According to Dr. Stuart Levy, a Medford, New Jersey dentist, the world of cosmetic dentistry offers a number of tooth replacement options based on the patient’s situation. One popular method of tooth replacement comes in the form of dental implants. A dental implant can serve as a permanent means of tooth replacement. The implant itself looks just like a tooth and is placed directly into the bone area that used to house the missing tooth. Once the implant integrates into the bone, it becomes solid and is secured using a crown or similarly-effective device. Dental implants are a great option for people with enough bone strength to support this method of tooth replacement. Although implants can be costly, they are considered the closest things to actual teeth as far as replacement options are concerned.
Another method of tooth replacement comes in a newer technique known as mini dental implants. Those who do not have the bone structure needed to support regular dental implants have no choice but to resign themselves to the discomfort of poorly-fitted dentures. However, thanks to the advent of mini dental implants, such patients have a potentially superior option as far as tooth replacement is concerned. Mini dental implants are smaller titanium implants that are strategically placed in the mouth to provide support and stabilization for dentures. Unlike regular implants, the method of implanting the “minis” is minimally-invasive, and the recovery process tends to be quick and easy. Mini dental implants are a great way to avoid the day to day discomfort associated with loose dentures. And dentures wearers who do choose to go this route can toss out those annoying, sticky adhesives, as they will no longer be necessary to hold dentures in place.
Dental bridges and crowns can serve as another option for tooth replacement. A dental bridge is a device that attaches an artificial tooth to adjacent natural teeth in order to fill the gap left over by a missing tooth. A fixed, nonremovable bridge is applied by placing crowns on the anchoring teeth surrounding the gap for bonding. Since the bridge is cemented into place, it is considered a stable, long-lasting method of tooth replacement, provided that the recipient follows his dentist’s instructions for proper maintenance and care.
Finally, though not the most popular choice among patients, dentures are a final option as far as tooth replacement is concerned. Those needing dentures have two options — a full denture, which replaces all the teeth, or a partial denture, which is a set of replacement teeth affixed to a gum-colored base that attaches to natural teeth with metal clasps. Both full and partial dentures are removable, and while they aren’t the average person’s first choice for tooth replacement, they do get the job done.
Whether you’re missing one tooth at the back of your mouth or two teeth front and center, if you suddenly find yourself in need of tooth replacement, then it’s important that you consult with your dentist so that he can review the various options and suggest a method that will best serve you. Remember, a missing tooth can impact not only on your self-esteem, but your gums and the rest of the teeth in your mouth. Fortunately, you have plenty of replacement methods at your disposal to complete your smile and give you the healthy mouth that you deserve.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.