People who are missing multiple teeth have more options than ever before for tooth replacement. Advances in dental technology have led to options that look more natural, feel more comfortable, and function better than in the past. In some situations, dentures are the best option but bridges and dental implants are another possibility for people who are missing multiple teeth. If you are exploring options for tooth replacement, learn more about all of the options to help determine which one is best for you.
A dental bridge can be used as a tooth replacement option for people who are missing multiple teeth. Bridges can be permanent or removable. They are designed to sit on top of the gums similar to the way dentures sit on the gums. The major difference between the two options is that bridges use surrounding teeth as anchors. In order for a bridge to be a viable option for tooth replacement you must have some healthy teeth nearby that can act as anchors.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss. The post is implanted into the bone of your jaw. Eventually the jawbone and post fuse together to create a strong replacement for your missing tooth. Once they are placed, dental implants can be treated just like your natural teeth. Implants can be an option for people who are missing multiple teeth. The condition of your gums, jawbone, and remaining teeth will impact whether or not you are a good candidate for dental implants.
When dentures are the best option
Dental implants and bridges are both viable options for tooth replacement – other than dentures – if you are missing multiple teeth. However, there are some situations where dentures are the best option. If you do not have any teeth that can act as anchors then bridges are not an option in your situation. If your jawbone has deteriorated significantly or if you have serious gum issues you may not qualify for dental implants. Dentures are the best option if you find yourself in one of these situations. Ultimately, you will need the help of your dentist to determine which of these three tooth replacement options is best for your situation.
Trying to navigate life while missing multiple teeth can be difficult. You may have trouble eating certain foods and find yourself avoiding talking or smiling around others. Trying to hide the fact that you are missing multiple teeth will most likely result in you avoiding social situations. Living this way can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and your quality of life. Fortunately, there is help available. Schedule an appointment with your prosthodontist to discuss tooth replacement options and determine which one is right for you.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.