It’s often difficult to decide what you should do after you lose a tooth. The good news is, there are a number of options available to replace missing teeth.
The first, and easiest decision, is to simply leave the space empty where your tooth used to be. While this is likely going to be the most cost-effective option, it can result in unsightly spaces and gaps in between your teeth. It can also make speaking and chewing much more difficult.
Another option is to look into cosmetic dentistry procedures and see what your options for tooth replacement are.
Complete or Partial Dentures
Dentures are false, removable teeth than are fairly easy and fast to fabricate. They are offered as partials, where only a few of the teeth are replaced, or complete dentures, where all your teeth are replaced.
Partial dentures hold false teeth on metal or plastic framework. This framework can be removed and is designed to fit around the teeth that are left in the jaw. They may cover part of the gum tissue or the roof of the mouth. There may also be rests and hooks present to hold the framework in place, which are sometimes visible when you smile.
If you choose dentures, you need to note that they have to be removed each night for cleaning and to allow the gum tissue to “breathe.”
A bridge is a dental device that uses your natural teeth adjacent to the empty space for supporting a false tooth or teeth that is placed between them. In many situations, your dentist will need to shave or contour your natural teeth so that they can place a crown over the top of the tooth. These are referred to as abutment teeth. The crowns on each of the tooth will provide support for the false teeth in between, which is known as the pontic tooth.
This is one of the most preferred options for the replacement of missing teeth. Implants are typically made up of two parts: the implant, which serves as an anchor in the jaw, and a crown, which is the tooth portion that is seen in the mouth. An implant is a smart option since they don’t affect the adjacent teeth, but they still function, feel, and look just like natural teeth.
It is best to discuss the options with your dentist to find out what the right option is for your needs. This will ensure you choose the right one.