Tooth Replacement? Know Your Options

May 27, 2014

Nearly 70% of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident or gum disease. Missing teeth significantly impact your appearance, self-confidence, and oral health. Replacing missing teeth prevents drifting of the surrounding teeth, bone loss and other various complications.

If you have missing teeth, there are many treatment options to repair your smile. They include:

A fixed bridge is when a false tooth or teeth literally bridges the gap between your natural teeth. The artificial tooth is bonded or cemented into place using the healthy teeth next to the gap. It’s a long-term option which lasts 10-15 years.

A removable bridge is sometimes referred to as a removable, partial denture. Like a fixed bridge, they bridge the gap between your existing teeth. However, they’re fixed to a plastic base that matches your gums instead of the surrounding teeth so they can be removed. They have a clasp that attaches them to your natural teeth. They last 8-10 years.

Dentures can be partial or full and replace a single missing tooth or several teeth. They rely on support by the other teeth and the remaining ridge of gum and underlying bone. They need to be replaced every 5-10 years.

A dental implant is simply an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed in the upper/lower jaw. They act as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth. The surgery involves bolting a replacement piece with a titanium screw directly to the jawbone. This is the most expensive option, but it can last over 40 years.

If you’re missing a tooth, discuss these options with your dentist. They’ll help you determine which is best for you.