5 Options at Your Disposal for Replacing a Missing Tooth

If you're missing a tooth, you're not alone. Reports from the dental sector show that nearly 180 million Americans are missing at least one of their permanent teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, injuries, and other issues. On top of that, about 40 million have lost all of their teeth. Having missing teeth can cause a range of problems, such as loss of healthy jaw bone, trouble chewing, malnutrition, and sunken facial features. For people who don't want to live with missing teeth, several solutions are available. Each one has its own set of benefits.

Girl smiling through yellow paper sheet; Photo by Hana Lopez on Unsplash

1) Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are popular options for replacing missing teeth. They're composed of false teeth and a supportive framework that's fitted over your existing teeth. They effectively fill in gaps from missing teeth, and they're cemented in place so they don't slip or fall out. For this to be a suitable solution, you'll need to have a healthy tooth on either side of the gap left by your missing teeth. You can search for a Dentist Office Near Me to schedule an appointment and find out if this is the right choice for you.

2) Dental Implants

Dental implants are also common solutions for replacing missing teeth. They include titanium posts that serve as artificial tooth roots, abutments affixed to the posts, and artificial teeth attached to the abutments. These are permanent replacements for missing teeth, and they look and feel like natural teeth. Having dental implants put into place requires surgery. The process usually takes a few steps with a healing period following having the titanium posts inserted. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth.

Dental implant:Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

3) Implant-Supported Bridges

Traditional dental bridges rely on your natural teeth to stay in place. If you don't have healthy natural teeth in place to support those types of bridge, they're not an option. Implant-supported bridges work a bit differently. If you have several missing teeth in a row, you can have an implant inserted on either side of the gap. Then, a bridge will be created that uses the implants for support. This can help combat the invasiveness and cost of getting numerous dental implants while still providing a permanent replacement for missing teeth.

4) Partial Dentures

For those who aren't comfortable with the thought of implants and aren't good candidates for dental bridges, partial dentures may be the answer. Partials snap into place, so they won't move around or cause discomfort. They also function like natural teeth but can be removed for cleaning. Partial dentures can be modified as needed if you lose additional teeth. They're also easily repaired or replaced should the need arise.

5) Full Dentures

If all your teeth are missing, or you need to have your remaining natural teeth extracted because of decay or other issues, full dentures may be right for you. Dentures are made of various materials that are sturdy enough to hold up to constant use. They're designed to look and function like natural teeth. Like partials, they can be removed for cleaning, repairs, and other purposes.

Considering Your Options

Those are the most common solutions for replacing missing teeth. Some are best for people who have lost one or two teeth whereas others are meant for those who have lost several or all of their teeth. Consider these options and speak with a dentist to determine which tooth replacement solution might be the right one for you.