Losing one or more teeth because of dental disease, injury or any other reason is unfortunate. You need your full set of teeth to perform all the functions and maintain the natural state of the oral cavity. Missing teeth not only affect your functionality, but it also changes your appearance and how you speak.
Fortunately, there are several options, such as implants, bridges, dentures, etc., which can replace missing teeth depending on the number of missing teeth, location, and span. Continue reading to find all about the various options available for replacement of missing teeth and which option is the best for you.
Why is it important to replace missing teeth?
The everyday activities of chewing, biting and speaking use teeth, which also put stress on the jaw bone. If we do not stress the jaw bone, the density of jaw bone can diminish.
When you lose a tooth, the jaw bone around it can disintegrate with time. It can cause the neighboring teeth to shift in the gap and changing your bite.
This, in turn, makes you look older and makes it difficult to speak and eat. Replacing missing teeth is essential to maintain the necessary functionality and aesthetics. (1)
Let’s now discuss the options you have for replacing your missing teeth –
As implants require surgery, a patient should be in good health overall. The patient either must have adequate bone to support the implant or be able to have surgery to build up the area needing the implant.
They should also be ready to commit to daily oral care routine and regular dental visits.
Patients with chronic illnesses or with habits of tobacco chewing and smoking are not good candidates for implants.
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2. Fixed partial dentures (Bridges)
The next best option for single tooth replacement, after implants, is fixed partial dentures or bridges. For a bridge, the two teeth on either side of the gap are prepared to receive the crowns, and a ‘fake tooth’ or ‘pontic’ is added in between them to fill the space.
The bridge is fixed on the teeth using cement, and only a dentist can take it out.
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3. Removable partial dentures (RPD)
RPD replaces one or more missing teeth and is not fixed inside the mouth. It is made from acrylic and metal wires. It takes practice to put in and take out an RPD. These are ideally the last option to replace a missing tooth. (3)
RPD is only worn through the day and removed at night for cleaning.
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4. Complete dentures
Complete dentures are low-cost options when you need to replace an entire arch of teeth. It doesn’t require any surgery. It is not fixed in the mouth and has to take out at night for cleaning.
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5. Implant-supported dentures
Implant-supported dentures are a type of overdenture attached to and supported by implants. It merely rests on your gums and provides better support than removable dentures (complete or partial).
There are two types of implant-supported dentures –
- Implant-supported removable dentures
- Implant-supported fixed dentures
Whether you are missing a single tooth or more, it is more than a mere inconvenience. A missing tooth affects your appearance, how you eat and how you speak.
It is always better to replace the missing teeth as soon as possible, to maintain the health of your natural teeth and surrounding structures.
There are many options available for replacement. Your dentist will decide the best choice for you based on your health, condition of oral structures and the amount of money you are willing to spend.
Do not let a single missing tooth destroy your beautiful, healthy smile.