Unless you’re the tooth fairy, the idea of a lost adult tooth is the stuff nightmares are made of, and while most people think it’s only the elderly who are at risk, the truth is it can happen to anyone. And it is a lot more common than you might think.
According to a report by the American College of Prosthodontists, at least 120 million people in the U.S. have lost at least one tooth, and approximately 36 million don’t have any teeth.
Whether they’ve been knocked out or lost as a result of decay or trauma, missing teeth affect not only your smile, but also your confidence and self-esteem. But that’s not all. Missing teeth can cause headaches, muscle strains, and lead to more severe health issues down the line.
The good news is it’s not all doom and gloom (and soft foods). Thanks to the advancements in cosmetic dentistry, there are a number of ways to replace missing teeth, including dental implants, bridges, and dentures.
What Are Your Options?
There are a few options when it comes to replacing one or more lost tooth. These include dental implants, bridges, and dentures.
Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
Dental implants are one of the more popular options when it comes to replacing teeth, and for good reason. They look as good as your own teeth, feel more natural, and usually last a long time. But more than that, they stimulate the jawbone, which prevents future bones loss. While they may be a little pricier than the other options below, they are still cost-effective because they last so long.
Because the procedure requires surgery to insert the implant, it is considered to be more invasive than dentures or bridges, for example.
Advantages of dental implants
- The success rate is around 95%
- Implants are permanent
- Look and feel natural
- The implants last a long time
Disadvantages of dental implants
- The procedure is fairly invasive
- You have to visit the dentist more often than other replacement options
- They’re expensive
There are two types of bridges available: the tooth-supported fixed bridge and the resin-bonded bridge.
Tooth-supported fixed bridge
The fixed bridge is a popular alternative because it costs less than implants and the procedure is non-invasive. In most cases, two crowns are fitted to the existing teeth on either side of the lost-tooth gap and are cemented in. This is a good choice for people who are only missing one tooth.
Advantages of tooth-supported fixed bridges
- It looks and feels like your own teeth
- The procedure is relatively quick
- It is an affordable method to replace a missing tooth
Disadvantages of tooth-supported fixed bridges
- Teeth on either side of the gap need to be ground down to support the bridge, which can lead to them getting infected
- Unlike dental implants, there is no stimulation to the jawbone
- They don’t last as long as dental implants
A resin-bonded bridge is used when just the front teeth need to be replaced. The main reason for this is that they’re not as durable as implants or tooth-supported bridges, which means they won’t do as good a job as your own back teeth.
Advantages of resin-bonded bridges
- Is an affordable option
- Your remaining teeth aren’t affected
- Are more permanent than dentures
Disadvantages of resin-bonded bridges
- Not as durable as implants or dentures
Removable dentures have been around for years, and are a very affordable option. Cleaning them is easy, and with the technology available today, they look more natural and fit better than dentures from way back when.
Advantages of removable dentures
- Removable dentures function like your own teeth, allowing you to speak and eat comfortably
- They are durable and last a long time
- They are affordable
- They’re easy to clean and maintain
Disadvantages of removable dentures
- Not as comfortable as implants and bridges
- Can fall out or slip around
Choosing the best option for you
Implants, bridges or dentures? How do you know which is the right option for you? This is where the team at Great Miami Dental comes in. Because it isn’t a case of “one size fits all,” we do a thorough examination and ask a series of questions about your lifestyle, your needs, and what you hope to achieve with your replacement teeth. By getting to know you, we are able to recommend a solution suited to you.
It is this professional and personalized approach that has established Dr. Lang as one of Middletown’s most trusted dentists. Book your appointment and let us help you regain your smile and your confidence.