Missing teeth can leave you feeling so embarrassed that you cover your mouth or look away from others when you speak. It can cause anxiety and cause you to isolate yourself from others. If you’re missing a tooth due to injury or decay, it’s important to address it as soon as possible. Even if you’re not concerned about cosmetics, having a full set of teeth is essential to maintaining good oral health. Missing teeth can result in bone loss in your jaw or cause your remaining teeth to shift to fill in the gaps, leaving you with further complications from a misaligned bite.
Fortunately, you have several options to help optimize your oral health and restore your smile and your confidence. Here are some of the most popular remedies to fix missing teeth:
One of the best, long-lasting ways to fix a missing tooth is to replace it with a dental implant. Dental implants involve a strong anchor implanted under your gums, topped with an abutment and a natural-looking prosthetic tooth crown. Dental implants have the advantage of looking, feeling, and functioning like real teeth, and because they are implanted in your jawbone, you won’t experience bone loss. Since there’s no way to tell the difference between a dental implant and natural tooth, implants are one of the best options for a missing front tooth.
Dental bridges are an affordable option for replacing missing teeth, but they require strong healthy teeth adjacent to the gap to serve as anchors to the prosthetic tooth. The adjacent teeth will need to be filed down a bit to accommodate the bridge, and floss threaders that slide underneath the bridge will keep the area clean and free of destructive bacteria. While bridges can easily replace one or two missing teeth, replacing more than that can be tricky.
If you have a full arch of missing teeth, complete dentures are the most affordable option for replacement. Complete dentures are custom-made to fit your mouth, with prosthetic teeth affixed to a plastic or metal framework. Dentures are also removable, making them easy to clean. However, without teeth anchored to your jaw, bone loss is inevitable and your mouth will change shape, necessitating adjustments to the dentures’ fit over time.
If you only have a few teeth to replace instead of an entire arch, a removable partial denture is a great option. Unlike dental bridges, partial dentures do not require prep work on surrounding teeth. However, the metal clasps that help the partial denture stay in your mouth might be visible when speaking or smiling, and like other removable dentures, they can shift when speaking and eating.
Getting a dental implant or dental bridge takes time, especially if you have to wait for your mouth to heal from an extracted tooth. Often, your dentist will offer a temporary denture to fill the gap while you wait for your permanent tooth replacement. Temporary dentures are called “flippers” because they flip in and out of the tooth gap easily, and they function in the same way as a partial denture, although they are not quite as strong.
What is the best tooth replacement option?
If you want to restore your smile by replacing one or more missing teeth, the best option will depend on your needs, your current oral health, and your budget. The professional dental experts at Sedation and Implant Dentistry Irvine can walk you through the pros and cons of each option and help you select the one that works best for you. Fill out our appointment form or give us a call at (949) 424-5137 to schedule a consultation today.