Missing a tooth can really affect someone’s self-confidence. The good news is that there are several options to fix a missing tooth to restore a beautiful smile. Restoring a missing tooth is more than just about aesthetics. Replacing a missing tooth helps to preserve facial contours, maintain alignment of surrounding teeth and restore maximum function.
Each tooth plays an important role as a place holder for other teeth. When a tooth is missing, adjacent teeth drift to fill the gap and eventually move out of alignment. Additionally, tooth roots help to stimulate the underlying jawbone to maintain density and form. Before replacing a missing tooth, there are several factors that you have to discuss with a professional oral surgeon to find the appropriate approach that will work on your case. Common approaches dentists use to replace a missing tooth include:
Today, the most common approach to replacing a lost tooth is through dental implants. An implant acts most like a natural tooth when smiling, brushing and chewing. To install a dental implant, a dentist first replaces the actual root of the missing tooth and leaves it to heal in the bone for some time. An abutment is then placed to which a crown will be cemented. Most people prefer dental implants since there is no need to alter adjacent teeth. This solution is great for a single missing tooth. It is very hard to tell apart an implant and a natural tooth.
Bridge is another option that works best if there are teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The teeth on either side of the gap are ground down and act as an anchor to attach the fixed bridge. This solution is durable since the bridge stays cemented in the mouth. To clean thoroughly under a bridge, dentists recommend using floss threaders which can slide easily under it. This option is only possible if the teeth adjacent to the gap are perfectly healthy. If not so, doing a bridge on not so healthy teeth can cause them to become weak and prone to infections. When it gets to this point, you may end up losing three teeth instead of the one. A dental bridge is perfect for replacing several missing teeth.
This is a temporary solution for a missing tooth. A temporary denture is installed in the place where the missing tooth was awaiting the site to heal before replacing with an implant or bridge. They are more like removable partial dentures only they are less bulky, less sturdy and less expensive.
Removable Partial Denture
This option is not a permanent solution, but it be a great way to replace missing front teeth. A removable partial denture can replace one or many missing teeth and it is usually worn during the day. To keep partial dentures in place, a metal clasp is used. Patients are advised to remove partial dentures at night and soak them in cleaning solutions in order to keep them clean and avoid contamination. This is an economical option for individuals looking for a quick fix.