If you are missing teeth, whether you were born without them or lost them for one reason or another, you may be considering options to replace them. Fortunately, it is not an all or nothing approach. Instead, there are many options for restoring your smile and helping you retain the ability to eat and drink as naturally as possible. These three options are all popular approaches to replacing a lost or missing tooth.
If you’ve been to the dentist about your tooth concerns, you have probably heard about dental implants. They are a long-term or permanent solution to a missing tooth. You can have them done individually, or you can have a larger prosthetic appliance attached to several, like in the all on four procedure. You can find all sorts of information about them in the implant dentistry journal.
Implants are basically threaded titanium screws that are placed into your jawbone. An abutment is attached to that once your gum has healed, and then a crown is placed over the abutment. They should generally be inserted by an oral surgeon who specializes in this type of procedure.
Dentures are an option when you are missing all or most of your teeth. They are a prosthetic device that is molded to appear like natural teeth. The plates that hold these together can be made from metal or acrylic and are usually not visible to other people.
In a partial denture, also called a flipper, a resin material will fit to your palate. A realistic-looking tooth or teeth will be attached and fit into the place where your natural ones are missing. A flipper also serves a retainer to help keep your other teeth from shifting.
These are the traditional method for fixing the appearance of a single missing tooth. A bridge consists of a fake tooth that is attached to one or two abutment teeth. It is a relatively long-term solution to a missing tooth. There are several types of bridges available, but they all rely on the support of neighboring teeth.
No matter what solution you decide to use to replace your missing tooth, make sure you learn how to properly care for and maintain it. This will help ensure you don’t lose your new smile to further damage.