Understanding Different Tooth Replacement Options

Tooth loss can have a major impact on your smile and oral health. It can make chewing and speaking difficult, and it may lead to teeth shifting or jawbone deterioration.

The good news is that you have several options to replace your missing teeth. This article will cover three common ones: dental implants, bridges and partial dentures.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a popular choice for replacing missing teeth because they look and feel most like natural teeth. They also have the highest success rate of all tooth replacement options. However, they require a significant time commitment. The procedure can take several months to complete. During this time, you may experience some discomfort and swelling of the gums or face. Prescription pain medications can help alleviate these symptoms.

Once the implant has healed, a small connector post—called an abutment—is attached to the top of the implant, and then a crown (or artificial tooth) is fabricated. There are many different types of implants, including screw-type, cylinder-type, and bladed-type.

The best candidates for dental implants have healthy gums and sufficient bone to support the implant. Heavy smokers and patients with uncontrolled chronic disorders may not be good candidates for this type of treatment. Patients who have these conditions should discuss alternatives with their doctors.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are a common method for replacing missing teeth, and they can be an excellent solution to restore your smile’s appearance. A fixed bridge consists of false teeth that are anchored to dental crowns that have been placed on adjacent healthy teeth.

During your tooth replacement procedure, the dentist will inject local anesthesia to numb the area where the bridge is being placed. Then, the dentist will prepare the teeth that function as abutment by resizing and reshaping them to accommodate the dental bridge.

This is important because it prevents the natural teeth on either side of the gap from shifting to fill in the space, which could cause problems with your bite and the overall health of your teeth. It also ensures that you can chew your food properly without the need to compensate by using other parts of your mouth. With proper oral hygiene, your dental bridge will last for years. This is a cost-effective option for replacing missing teeth, and it’s a lot less invasive than getting a dental implant.

Removable Partial Dentures

Partial dentures fill gaps in your smile and help you chew and speak normally. They also prevent existing teeth from shifting and improve your overall oral health. Removable partial dentures can be used long-term or as a temporary solution before you get a permanent tooth replacement, such as dental implants or fixed bridgework.

Removable partial dentures have replacement teeth fixed to a plastic base that matches the color of your gums. The base may cover a metal framework or clasps that attach to existing natural teeth. Metal clasps tend to be more durable, but precision attachments are less visible and allow for a cleaner finish. Your prosthodontist can advise you about your options for removable partial dentures. Some patients choose flexible partials made from thin, lightweight thermoplastics. However, they are bulkier and can break if the bases are too thin. They can also irritate the soft tissues of the mouth and cause inflammation, according to one research review.

Full-Arch Dentures

Patients with missing all or most of the teeth on either their top or bottom arch may be candidates for full-arch dentures. However, they should be healthy and free of periodontal disease or tooth decay, as these conditions can cause further damage to the remaining natural teeth and lead to complications such as bone loss.

The process involves anchoring a base to the jawbone and then attaching a row of durable artificial teeth to it. This restoration can be made removable or fixed, depending on a patient’s preference.

Dental implants are an excellent option for replacing the full rows of upper and lower teeth because they prevent bone loss by acting like replacement tooth roots, fusing with the jawbones and promoting natural bone growth. This allows a stronger, more stable chewing function and a healthier facial structure for a younger appearance. The permanent bridges that replace missing teeth are also sturdier and more comfortable than traditional dentures, which often shift or slip.

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