Gaps and spaces in your smile can leave you feeling insecure and self-conscious. More importantly, however, missing teeth can lead to more significant oral health problems later on.
Today, our team at Dowell Dental Group in Minerva, OH discusses treatment for missing teeth. There are several options available depending on your specific needs, including partial dentures, traditional bridges, and dental implants. Here, we briefly explore each of these solutions so you can be well-informed.
A traditional partial denture consists of a gum-colored acrylic base with prosthetic teeth attached. This appliance is built around a solid metal framework for added strength, with specialized clasps that can hook onto neighboring teeth for stability.
Partials are typically recommended for patients missing multiple sporadic teeth on one or both arches. While partials are one of the most cost-effective solutions for missing teeth, many patients prefer more permanent options, such as bridges or dental implants.
Patients who are missing one to three teeth in a row may be ideal candidates for a traditional dental bridge. This custom restoration is carved from a solid block of ceramic, zirconia, or another high-quality dental material.
With a dental crown on either end and artificial teeth (pontics) in between them, a bridge is attached to the adjacent teeth for support. In order to properly seat a traditional bridge, the natural teeth on both sides of the gap must be reduced in size. This involves removing small amounts of enamel to make room for your new restoration.
Since their emergence, dental implants have changed the way we replace missing teeth. Unlike alternative options, dental implants actually replace the roots of missing teeth.
Why is this important? Because the tooth roots actively stimulate the nerves within the jawbone, preserving bone density and preventing further bone loss. Implants do the same thing.
In addition, these small threaded titanium posts are versatile; they can support crowns, bridges, and dentures. Widely considered the most optimal teeth replacement method available, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
Also called a flipper, a temporary partial is often used in interim phases of treatment. For example, if a tooth is removed with the intent of replacing it with an implant later, then a temporary partial can be worn until the healing phase is complete. Flippers are an excellent short-term solution but should never be used for prolonged periods of time.
Of course, whenever a tooth is lost, patients always have the option to do nothing. However, it is important to understand that this can lead to shifting, changes in your bite function, and other serious oral health concerns.
At Dowell Dental Group, we always recommend replacing missing teeth, except for a few rare exceptions. For example, we never replace wisdom teeth with implants. Because 95 percent of your chewing takes place on the first molars, forward, replacing second molars is sometimes considered elective, as well.
During a consultation at our practice, your doctor can help you determine if tooth replacement is right for you.
Are you missing one tooth, several teeth, or even all of your teeth in one or both arches? If so, dental implants could offer the solution you are seeking. To learn more about this treatment, or any of our other tooth replacement options, schedule a consultation at Dowell Dental Group. Contact us online or call us at one of our office locations.