Tooth Replacment Options

A tooth may become decayed or damaged and need to be removed. During physical activity, a tooth can be knocked out. Having a strong, full set of working teeth is important to your overall health. It allows you to chew your food properly and gives you confidence. Without proper tooth replacement, teeth next to the open space left by the missing tooth may drift and tilt. Also, the teeth in the opposite jaw may grow longer because there is nothing opposing them.

TOOTH REPLACMENT OPTIONS

There are several options available to replace a missing tooth (or missing teeth) if the original tooth cannot be saved. They include:

  • A removable bridge (or removable partial denture). This is an artificial  tooth that is removable and attaches to nearby teeth with metal clasps. This option is easiest to repair and may be less expensive. It may not feel stable in the mouth however and requires regular removal and cleaning.

  • A fixed bridge (or fixed partial denture) is an artificial tooth, supported by teeth on either side of the space. It replaces the missing tooth or teeth. It is bonded or cemented to the adjacent healthy teeth, which are a part of the bridge. This is almost like a natural tooth and there is no removal. It is more expensive than a removable bridge

  • Upper or lower dentures. An artificial model of all upper or lower teeth is inserted into the mouth. Both upper and lower may also be replaced. This is usually reserved for people with teeth or gum issues. Several visits are necessary to form proper dentures and regular cleaning is involved.

  • Implant. A metal post is inserted into the jaw line. A crown, bridge or denture is attached to the post. This is the most long term and secure option. It does not impact nearby teeth like bridges and dentures. Several dental visits are necessary. This is the most expensive option.

Sometimes a denture can be made before a tooth is extracted and then fitted right away after extraction. This is called an "immediate denture." Over time, dentures can also be relined with acrylic to accommodate changes in the mouth and improve fit.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • It takes a little time to get used to an artificial tooth, bridge, or denture in the mouth. Over time, your gums will adjust. Your caregiver can also make changes to improve the fit of your device.

  • Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Your caregiver can help you decide what is best for you.

  • Often, tooth replacement procedures are done in stages. Several visits may be necessary. This is often based on the condition of your overall health, jaw bone, teeth, and gums.

  • Without proper tooth replacement, the remaining teeth may shift into the gaps and allow food to be trapped. Trapped food increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Also the bite may be adversely affected.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • See your dental caregiver for regular cleaning and examinations every 6 months.

  • See your caregiver for follow up examinations as directed.

  • Take good care of your teeth and gums by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily.

  • Take special care of your teeth and tooth replacement as directed.