If you’re suffering from tooth loss, you’re not alone. By the age of 50, most Americans have lost about 12 of their permanent teeth to decay, gum disease, or trauma. If you’re wondering “What options do I have if I’m missing teeth?”, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are three natural-looking solutions that you can choose from. Regain a beautiful smile with a fixed bridge, traditional dentures, or dental implants. Read on to learn which one could be best for you.
A dental bridge is a custom-crafted tooth-replacement solution that is held in place with two dental crowns that are secured to your natural teeth on either side of the gap in your mouth. Between the crowns are custom-crafted replacement teeth called pontics that can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain.
Fixed bridges are a great solution for patients who need to replace between one and three missing teeth in a consecutive row. It’s important to have healthy natural teeth that can anchor the crowns and provide the restoration with a lasting, strong foundation.
Whether you’re missing several teeth or an entire arch, dentures can be a cost-effective and great solution to help restore your ability to eat and speak. Full dentures are custom-made oral appliances that are crafted in a laboratory to comfortably and securely suction over your gums. Paired with a denture adhesive, they stay firmly in place. Partials are held in place with a specially engineered metal foundation that fits behind your remaining teeth. On both options, the replacement teeth are secured to a natural-looking gum base made from acrylic.
A good candidate for dentures is someone who is missing most or all of their natural teeth. Patients who don’t have sufficient jawbone density and can’t get implants may benefit the most from this cost-effective restoration as well.
Dental implants utilize the latest technology and techniques in dentistry to replace the entire structure of missing teeth from the root up. They offer countless oral health benefits that patients can’t get from traditional restorative options. The procedure begins with a surgery where an oral surgeon will place titanium posts in the jaw. These act us the roots of your replacement teeth and even fuse with your natural bone, creating a sturdy, strong base.
After a healing period of a few months, your dentist will then place connector pieces called abutments to the tops of the implants. These are small metal attachments that secure either a crown, bridge, or denture in your mouth. This way, you won’t experience any slipping or shifting of your restoration.
On top of having a long lifespan, dental implants help preserve patients’ jawbone by stimulating it, which is a benefit that no other restoration can offer. The catch is that a patient needs to have dense enough bone for this to work properly. If not, they’ll need to have a bone graft before the surgery can take place.
It’s important to replace missing teeth in a timely manner to prevent additional oral health problems from occurring. Having a gap in your smile doesn’t just sink your self-esteem — it also provides a cozy hideout for bacteria and plaque. The best way to learn what solution is best for your unique smile is to visit your dentist for a consultation.
About the Author
Dr. Martin Barco III completed a general practice residency at Indiana University and is passionate about following in his father’s footsteps by providing his patients with the highest quality of dental care. He is an active member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association, allowing him to give his patients trustworthy diagnoses and treatment. He understands how tooth loss can impact someone’s life, which is why he offers several replacement options such as dental implants, dentures, and crowns. For questions or to schedule a consultation to find out which restorative solution is best for you, visit Barco Family Dentistry’s website or call 812-332-8290.