Losing a tooth is far more than an aesthetic problem. But plenty of tooth replacement options now exist. An empty space leaves room for the surrounding teeth to move and makes you more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and bone loss.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to find a medical solution to preserve your long-term oral health. The options available to you vary in regard to longevity and cost, so you will want to have a discussion with your dentist at your dentist office in Irvine to establish what option is best for you. Here are the top three solutions for replacing a missing tooth.
A Dental Implant
Dental implants in Irvine are the gold standard of tooth replacement. They are considered permanent. A patient with reasonably good oral hygiene can expect the implant to last a minimum of twenty years without complications. A dental implant is also the only tooth replacement option that can stimulate remodeling in the jaw bone. Therefore, it is the only option that works to prevent and even reverse bone loss.
However, placing a dental implant is not an easy process.. And the cost is reflective of that fact. Even patients who don’t require a bone graft to repair the damage caused by bone atrophy can expect the entire process to take between three and six months. The length of the process is primarily due to the need for the jaw bone to heal around the post at the base of the implant.
By allowing osseointegration to occur, you’re giving the implant a rock-solid foundation that mimics the security of your natural teeth. Dental implants aren’t right for everyone, but they are generally the best long-term solution.
A Fixed Bridge
A fixed bridge is essentially a prosthetic tooth that is supported by the surrounding teeth without a direct connection to the jawbone. In some cases, the fixed bridge can have support from natural teeth. However, that can put additional strain on those teeth, resulting in additional problems down the road. The alternative is to use dental implants to support the fixed bridge, but this option is typically only considered if the patient is missing multiple teeth in a row.
For patients who are missing multiple teeth, an implant-supported bridge is an excellent option. You can generally replace up to five teeth this way with one dental implant on either end and three prosthetic teeth in the middle. It’s a cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing alternative to replacing all five teeth with individual dental implants. That being said, there are some downsides that you should consider.
Unlike the dental implants, the prosthetic teeth supported by your natural teeth or dental implants have no connection to the jaw bone. As a result, that section of bone will not be encouraged to remodel when you use your teeth. And you may suffer from some bone loss as a result.
A Removable, Partial Denture
A partial denture is another viable solution for replacing missing teeth. Technology has improved to make them more secure and very natural-looking. In fact, as long as you apply your denture properly and have it refitted at set intervals, you can go about your business as usual without worry. Unfortunately, there is still no connection with the jaw. So you can expect to experience bone loss in the area where teeth are missing. If the area covered by the denture is large enough, this may cause the face to sag in as you age.
Understanding the Options
All of these prove viable options designed to fit patient needs. To know what options you have available given your particular circumstances, discuss tooth replacement with your local dentist.