If you have one or more missing teeth, your oral surgeon will recommend that you have them replaced as soon as possible.
Restoring your smile, preventing bone loss and avoiding further damage to your oral health are just a few of the reasons replacing your teeth is important. But how, exactly, should it be done?
Your treatment plan will depend upon your individual circumstances and oral health care needs. But if you’re like most people, you’ll be a good candidate for a number of tooth replacement procedures.
Bridges to Replace Missing Teeth
Are the teeth next to your missing ones healthy and strong? If so, you may be able to choose the fixed bridge option.
With this procedure, the replacement teeth look, feel and function much like natural teeth. And, because they are fixed in place, you don’t have to remove them for cleaning. In fact, you can’t remove them.
Fixed bridges do have a few disadvantages, however.
The adjacent teeth must be cut or ground down to small pegs. Even if these adjacent teeth are in perfect condition, they must be reduced in size to anchor the bridge. This can sometimes result in future oral health problems. Also, fixed bridges do nothing to stop bone loss in the empty tooth socket area.
Removable Partial Dentures to Restore Missing Teeth
A removable, partial denture is another tooth replacement option. In most cases, it is the least expensive option, at least initially.
Partial dentures, like the full version, are natural-looking artificial teeth attached to a plastic base that’s colored to match your gums.
While you can save money initially by going with this type of treatment, removable partial dentures typically must be repaired or replaced at some point. Because dentures do nothing to prevent bone loss in the jaw, they also become ill-fitting and uncomfortable over time.
Many patients find full or partial dentures to be unstable or uncomfortable. They also require daily care and must be removed for cleaning.
Dental Implants to Replace Missing Teeth
Most dental health professionals strongly recommend dental implants over fixed bridges and dentures. Although the initial cost may be higher than the alternatives, implants should last a lifetime with the proper care.
Dental implants look, fit and function just like natural teeth. But unlike fixed bridges, the implant procedure doesn’t damage strong, healthy teeth. And because the process involves placing titanium roots in the gums, bone loss in the jaw is prevented.
The only care required for dental implants is routine brushing and flossing and regular professional dental cleanings — just like your natural teeth!
Ultimately, the tooth restoration procedure you choose will depend upon many factors, including the goals for treatment, your oral health concerns and your financial considerations.
Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah are experts in the field of dental restoration. With three convenient Salt Lake City area offices to serve you, we are confident that you will be delighted by our services to replace your missing teeth.