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Three Ways to Replace a Missing Tooth
A missing tooth for a child is a rite of passage for the introduction of adult teeth. However, losing an adult tooth is a problem. A missing tooth has adverse effects on oral health, without considering the obvious cosmetic impact. However, all is not lost. There are tooth replacement options available to consider.
Tooth replacement options
Different options are available for replacing a missing tooth, depending on the patient’s condition and preferences. The dentist can make a suggestion after reviewing the patient’s dental health, bone structure, medical history, and preferences. Some of the options include:
A dental implant is a replacement option that includes a small titanium post that is inserted into the jawbone right below the gum line. The implant serves the functions of the lost tooth roots. The procedure requires the surgical placement of the implant into the jaw. A few months of healing will follow so that the implant can integrate with the jawbone. The integration process makes the implant strong enough to support a tooth replacement that will be attached to it.
A dental implant preserves the jawbone and prevents the deterioration that often follows tooth loss. It is also long-lasting and requires minimal maintenance. Patients can care for their teeth as usual.
A bridge covers the space left by the lost tooth to restore the function and appearance of the smile. The fixed bridge relies on two teeth on the side of the gap as anchors for the artificial tooth that sits in the gap. The teeth supporting the replacement will be shaved down and covered with a dental crown.
Alternatively, if several teeth are missing or there are no healthy teeth for support, one or two dental implants can be used to support a fixed bridge. The process is faster than dental implant restoration. The major drawback is that healthy teeth need to be modified for the dental restoration to work.
Dentures are dental prosthetics that can be fabricated from plastic, metal, or acrylic material. Complete dentures are typically recommended when all of the teeth need replacement, but partial dentures can be used if only a few teeth need replacement. The tooth replacement option has a replacement tooth affixed to a natural-looking base. The dentist will use the natural teeth to stabilize the removable plastic bases, but they can also use a metal clasp that connects to nearby teeth.
The base is customized to match the gum’s color, and the replacement tooth blends with the rest of the smile. This option might be recommended if there are multiple teeth lost in one side of the oral cavity. The denture can also be attached to dental implants – implant-supported dentures. Partial dentures generally cost less than a fixed bridge or implant. However, this option is less stable and less durable than bridges and implants.
If you have a missing tooth, do not hesitate to visit the dentist to discuss replacement options. They will recommend the best option to restore your smile.
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