Missing teeth can have a serious impact on the way you feel about your smile. Having a missing tooth can keep you from smiling, laughing, and interacting comfortably with others. Eating can become difficult and your other teeth can start to shift over time. If your teeth shift it can lead to issues with your bite and cause problems like grinding. In order to avoid the negative consequences that come along with missing teeth, you should look into tooth replacement options. Three of the most popular options include implants, bridges, and dentures.
Dental implants are a permanent solution for tooth loss. The dental implant itself is a surgical grade titanium post that is placed beneath the gums and into your jawbone. Over time, your jawbone and the post fuse together and create a high level of stability. The replacement tooth is placed on top of the post and can be removable or fixed. Once a dental implant is placed you can treat it like your natural teeth. In order to get a dental implant, you will have to be examined by your prosthodontist. She will do a thorough examination to ensure that your gums, jaw, and mouth are in the right condition for an implant.
Permanent or removable bridge
A bridge is a tooth replacement option that works for a number of people. A bridge remains on the surface of your gums which is different from the option of dental implants. In order to get a bridge, you must have a tooth close by that can act as an anchor. If, for whatever reason, you decide not to get a dental implant a bridge is a good alternative. Bridges can be removable or placed permanently in your mouth. You can eat, talk, drink, and smile comfortably with a bridge in place.
If you are missing multiple teeth the best replacement option for you may be dentures. Over time your jawbone can start to deteriorate when you have missing teeth. When you live with missing teeth for years your jawbone may deteriorate to a point where implants are not an option. Dentures are a good option if you are missing most or all of your teeth. Advances in technology have resulted in dentures that look natural and function better than ever before. A skilled prosthodontist will be able to design a set of dentures for you that fit well and look great.
It can be difficult to decide which tooth replacement option is best for you. Ultimately, this is a decision you will make in conjunction with your prosthodontist. Your prosthodontist will assess the condition of your remaining teeth and your gums to help you determine which option 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.