Whether you’ve lost one tooth or more to an accident, decay or any other reason, it can often leave a gap in your smile that can be uncomfortable and make chewing or speaking a painful ordeal. Fortunately dental bridges, partial dentures and dental implants provide solutions that can literally bridge the gap in your teeth and help restore your smile.
A leading option is dental implants. While this option requires that a patient has surgery to install a permanent anchoring post for the new artificial tooth or teeth, it can prove to be a more reliable and stable option for many patients. First, an anchor is installed – usually made of titanium – and given time to heal so that new bone can grow around the installed anchor to help stabilize it and keep it in place. Next, depending on the installation, a post may need to be installed separately. This post is what will hold the new artificial tooth, which is installed in the same way as a crown but over this new post instead of a prepared existing tooth.
Implants offer a greater level of permanence than the other options, but some patients may also be poor candidates, depending on their existing bone structures. Fortunately there are several other options available if implants aren’t the right choice for your situation.
Another leading option for tooth replacement is the fixed dental bridge. Many different types of bridges exist for use in different locations in your mouth and different dental conditions. The fixed bridge adds in an artificial tooth – or teeth, if there are multiple teeth missing in a gap – by using the existing teeth as anchoring points to put in the new fixtures. The most common type of bridge, this method uses crowns made of porcelain and metal atop the two existing anchor teeth that then hold the new artificial tooth or teeth in place in the gap in between. These bridges are fixed and permanent, and cannot be removed.
The last common option is partial dentures. With partial dentures, a set of mounted artificial teeth are attached to a bracketed frame that affixes to other teeth in your mouth, creating a replacement option for multiple missing teeth. The new teeth are generally mounted on a plastic base that is designed to match the color of your gums, which also provides a more natural-looking solution. Partial dentures are not designed to be continuously worn, and should be removed and cleaned daily to help prolong their viability for years to come. Additionally, these can require a lengthier fitting process and are more susceptible to being lost or damaged than permanent, fixed bridges.
At Genesee Dental, our dentists can work with you to identify the best options for your specific situation. We can discuss your best course of action, and perform all necessary procedures in our office. Find out more by giving us a call or schedule an appointment online today!