3 Great Options for Replacing a Missing Tooth
Need to replace a missing tooth? While it’s not a serious medical issue, it can put a damper on your confidence, and, if left unaddressed, a missing tooth can force negative oral health outcomes.
“When should I replace a tooth that has fallen out?”
As soon as possible. A missing tooth leaves your gums more vulnerable and exposed to the risk of gum disease, negatively affects your speech, and impairs your ability to chew.
“What’s the risk if I choose to wait on a replacement?”
Over time, your teeth will shift to fill in the empty space, compromising your jawbone’s structure.
Thankfully, this scenario is completely avoidable.
Northside Dental Clinic in Springfield, Missouri, explains the pros and cons behind tooth replacement options.
1. Dental Implants
Dental implants are incredibly common, reliable, and can be used on one or more teeth. A crown and an artificial root are used to create the appearance of real teeth.
- Realistic, natural look
- Adjacent teeth are not used
- Permanent, lifelong replacement with zero check-ups
- More expensive, ranging between $3,000-6,000
- Highly invasive surgical procedure that takes significant time to heal
2. Bridges & Crowns
There are three primary types of dental bridges. All bridges use adjacent teeth as support to “bridge” the gap of the missing tooth or teeth, thus preventing teeth from shifting and the jaw from being damaged over time.
The fixed bridge is sturdy and works to prevent deterioration of the jaw by fixing in place the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. One or more crowns are then used to secure the artificial tooth to fill in the gap.
Commonly used for front teeth, resin-bonded bridges, otherwise called “Maryland Bonded Bridges,” (AKA “sticky bridges”, “adhesive bridges”) are made from a metal framework with porcelain fused to metal teeth.
Unlike a traditional bridge for a missing tooth, cantilever bridges anchor in place on one side of the teeth. Due to this, they’re not as sturdy as fixed or “sticky” bridges.
- Less invasive, no surgery, one visit needed
- Cost-effective (cheaper)
- Provides the same realistic look and feel as implants
- If a bridge is poorly fitted, it can damage adjoining teeth
- Food can slip underneath the bridge, making it harder to clean
- Adjacent teeth may need to be filed down for the bridge to fit
Removable Partial Denture
These replace a small section of missing teeth. Removable partial dentures are great for chewing and look just like a normal tooth. However, they’re less durable than a tooth implant or bridge. That’s why they get uncomfortable when worn for too long.
Removable Complete Denture
Depending on the number of teeth you have, removable complete dentures are invasive and require multiple trips to the dentist. They replace nearly all teeth in the mouth.
Temporary Denture — “Flipper”
A flipper is a temporary partial denture that can easily flip in and out of its position. It doesn’t rely on adjacent teeth for support and has no metal clasps. It’s perfect for replacing a single missing tooth.
- Cheap and painless
- Less heavy than a partial denture
- Provides temporary relief until a permanent option is available
- Breaks more easily
- Can be uncomfortable at times
- If temporary dentures are worn for more than 8-12 months, the jawbone can shrink
Other Notable Tooth Replacement Options
Bonding: ideal for teeth that are partially missing (can last up to 10 years).
Porcelain veneers: porcelain shells bonded to the front of a tooth that improve your existing smile (can last for decades).
Easily Replace Your Missing Tooth at Northside Dental Clinic
Consult your dentist for more information when it comes to choosing the right solution for your missing tooth. You can schedule an appointment with Northside Dental Clinic today by calling: (417) 862-2468.