A beautiful smile with every tooth in its place helps you feel confident, and it could open doors for you socially and professionally. When you have a big gap in your teeth due to missing one or more teeth, it can have a big impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Depending on where the gap is located, it can also have an effect on how other people perceive you. Fortunately, you have choices when it comes to closing that gap.
Repairing the Gap
When you are ready to close that gap, you can choose from three different options. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Partial dentures – Probably the most cost-effective option, partial dentures are removable prosthetic teeth. They are manufactured to look like your teeth and fill in the missing teeth nicely for most patients.
- Dental bridge – This common choice used to be the only option available if the patient did not want a partial denture. Dental bridges are fixed, meaning they are not removable. They provide good aesthetics without the hassle associated with partial dentures.
- Dental implant – The dental implant is quickly becoming the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. It is aesthetically pleasing and of all the choices, is the one that most closely resembles a natural tooth.
Consulting with your dentist will help you decide the best method for replacing your missing tooth or teeth. There are some factors your dentist will take into consideration when making the determination about your best option.
Factors Affecting Your Options
Deciding on the best way to replace your missing teeth involves several elements. One of the first considerations is the number of teeth that are missing. One tooth can easily be replaced by a dental implant, assuming the bone and gum tissue are healthy and there are no problems that would prevent it from being successful.
On the other hand, if you have several teeth in a series missing, it may not be practical to have an implant placed for each missing tooth. Such an undertaking would be very expensive. In this scenario, a dental bridge or partial denture may be more advisable.
Cost is also a factor in the decision regarding the best way to replace missing teeth. A partial denture is going to be considerably less than getting a dental implant. Such an appliance may cost from a few hundred to a little over $1000, depending on how many teeth need to be replaced and the material used to construct the partial.
A dental bridge would be a few thousand dollars, depending on how many artificial teeth need to be used. With a dental bridge, the two teeth adjacent to the gap, also called abutment teeth, need to be crowned. The bridge with the artificial teeth, or pontics, is attached to the crowns of the abutment teeth.
In some instances where a bridge could be used but there is not a second tooth on which to rest the bridge, the dentist may suggest a dental implant to be used as the abutment tooth in the back. This would allow the use of a bridge without incurring the expense of several implants or the use of a partial denture.
Your budget is also a factor in determining the most appropriate way to replace your missing teeth. Even though dental implants may be the most desirable, a partial denture is the best solution for those who are on a tight budget.
The type of replacement you choose provide you with varying experiences. Dental implants are by far the most desirable choice because they are most like your natural teeth. Implants offer the best experience for patients, providing superior aesthetics and functionality.
Second to dental implants are dental bridges. As fixed prosthetics, you do not need to worry about your bridge falling out or becoming dislodged when you eat or speak. You will need to care for them properly in order to ensure that you do not develop gum disease. You will need to thoroughly clean the surface under your bridge daily to prevent plaque buildup around the abutment teeth.
Partial dentures do have the advantage of being the least expensive way to replace missing teeth. However, they also require extra care and things can go wrong with them. Partial dentures will need to be removed daily and cleaned. They may cause mouth sores and they may need adjusting from time to time. Occasionally, partials may become dislodged with you are eating and food debris may get caught underneath, which can cause discomfort or pain.
When looking for a way to replace missing teeth, one of the factors you may want to consider is the durability of the replacement. Partials, bridges and implants have different life expectancies. Of the three, with proper care and attention you can expect to replace partial dentures within seven years. Changes in your bone and soft tissue can alter the way they fit, so you can expect to need a replacement within that timeframe.
Dental bridges last longer. With good oral hygiene practices in place, you can expect your dental bridge to last for about ten years. Some people have had their bridges last longer, but usually they will need to be replaced once or twice.
A successful implant is permanent and does not need to be replaced, as long as you manage to take proper care of it. Because they are permanent and with care do not need replacement, the initial cost, though high, is worth it in the long run.
Replacing Multiple Teeth
Dental implants are actually stronger than natural teeth. For this reason, they are the ideal choice for replacing missing teeth. One implant can usually support more than one natural tooth. This means that an implant supported bridge or denture is going to be the best choice and provide you with lasting benefits.
When you have multiple teeth within your smile line missing, replacement must take into consideration both form and function. You want your smile to look authentic and beautiful. You tear food on your front teeth so it can be chewed, therefore the ideal replacement for your front teeth will be strong enough to bite through a steak, yet still look good and provide you with a winning smile.
Back teeth chew food and grind it into smaller particles. When replacing back teeth, it is important that the replacement teeth can endure the pressure that is produced with chewing. Aesthetics are not as important with back teeth since they are not normally seen when you smile. Restored function is more important with these teeth.
Being able to chew your food properly into smaller pieces is important for digestion. It is easier for the body to extract the most nutrients out of the smaller pieces, so the food you eat is used more efficiently when your back teeth are intact.
Missing teeth affect your appearance and your overall well-being. Replacing them restores the appearance of your smile, helps maintain the shape of your face and improves your speaking ability. Replacing missing teeth also improves your chewing ability and distributes your bite forces properly.
However you choose to replace those missing teeth, you will be enhancing your appearance and restoring your oral health as well as contributing to your general health. Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta can help you achieve your best oral health and fill those gaping spaces. Contact us today and schedule your appointment for exam and consultation.