Over 36 million Americans don’t have any teeth, and around 120 million are missing at least one tooth.
Missing teeth are problematic as they are a major cause of bone loss, can damage your self-esteem, and make it difficult to eat. Perhaps you’re missing a tooth and you’re unsure how to fix it.
Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the best options for a missing tooth.
A Single Dental Implant
One of the top ways to replace a tooth is getting dental implants. The treatment involves replacing your missing tooth’s root with a metal screw, which acts as an anchor.
Patients must wait several months for the implant to heal, so it becomes fused to the jawbone. Then, implant crowns will be secured which look like an artificial tooth.
A major benefit of dental implants is that they look and feel like natural teeth. They’re also permanent and require minimal maintenance, so you needn’t worry about regular checkups. Plus, dental implants have a long lifespan, making them a cost-effective option.
Not sure how to replace a missing tooth? Consider an implant-supported bridge especially if you’ve lost anywhere between three to 12 teeth.
With an implant-supported bridge, the teeth at the two ends are fixed in place with implants. This means the teeth in between are held in place without screws.
Implant-supported bridges are cost-effective and function like natural teeth, so you can still chomp on crunchy food. Plus, they are easy to maintain so you brush and floss with regular teeth.
But the only downside is the teeth receiving crowns must be filed into the appropriate size so the artificial tooth can easily fit over it. Because of this, you must thoroughly clean your teeth to remove food debris as it can be trapped underneath the bridge.
Plus, you must visit the dentist multiple times as the treatment length lasts between three to six months.
If you’re after a less invasive version of the previous treatment, then consider a resin-retained bridge. This is great for missing front teeth because there’s less pressure when you’re chewing.
A resin-retained bridge fixes onto the neighboring teeth on either side and, although they are less durable, it is a far more affordable option.
Removable Partial Dentures
One of the top tooth replacement options is removable partial dentures as they’re hassle-free. Unlike a complete set of dentures, these are fixed into their correct place to hold up the false teeth.
These are great because additional teeth can be added if you lose any teeth in the future, saving you time and money. Plus, removable partial dentures are one of the cheapest options and easy to repair or replace.
Further, there are different types of removable partial dentures. You can get a ball-retained version where your dentist creates your denture from an acrylic base to emulate your gums. The dentist will then attach this to the base which will need support from two implants.
But, if you choose this option, you must remove and clean your partial dentures daily before sleeping. And another downside is they don’t blend in as well because the metal clasps are obvious.
Although there are better options for a missing tooth, it’s possible to get complete dentures. These are great because they offer lip and cheek muscle support so you restore your facial dimensions which may have been affected by bone loss.
Complete dentures are a fast and affordable option while making eating and speaking more comfortable. But it’s important to note, you must clean and remove these overnight and it could take several adjustments until they feel natural.
Patients may need adhesives so they stay in place and the dentures are fragile, so you must handle them carefully.
If you have a missing tooth, consider getting a flipper. This is like a removable partial denture but it’s temporary, so it can flip in and out of its position. But it needn’t be fixed onto other teeth and blends in as there are no visible clasps.
Getting a flipper is a pain-free, affordable option and gives you time to choose a more permanent treatment.
Why You Can’t Do Nothing
Some people don’t take action when they have missing teeth, especially if they’re premolars or molars. But this isn’t wise as tooth loss weakens the bones in your mouth and your healthy teeth may shift.
Note, teeth hold each other in place so if one goes missing, the others try and close the gap which can affect your jaw bone health. And, in extreme cases, if you don’t replace teeth quickly then you may need a bone graft procedure.
Things to Consider
Before finding the perfect treatment plan for you, have a list of factors to help you. For instance, if you have severe bone loss, then you’ll need fixed or removable implant dentures. The benefit is you’ll get an instant facelift.
But, you must consider your budget. Removable implant dentures are the most affordable, whereas fixed ones require at least six implants, making them more expensive.
You should also factor in the aesthetics and maintenance of each option. For example, implant bridges look the most natural compared to other treatments listed.
Those Are the Options For a Missing Tooth
Hopefully, you now know all options for a missing tooth.
There are many options such as a single dental implant, removable partial dentures, and a resin-retained bridge. While deciding, consider the factors and ask your dentist for their recommendation for your case. Good luck!
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