Has it been hard for you to smile due to a missing tooth? According to the Kelton study for Invisalign, teeth are the most standout feature people notice when meeting the first time. About 66% will likely remember you due to having beautiful teeth and smile. If you have a missing tooth, especially in the front, it’s hard to smile. You not only lose confidence in yourselves, but missing teeth causes long-term damages to your facial structure and the way you bite. However, there are a few options for you to regain back a healthy beautiful smile.
First let’s start with doing nothing. When a tooth is pulled malocclusion can happen if we don’t get a replacement for the missing tooth. Malocclusion is a condition where our teeth shift, and it changes the way we bite. Teeth are supposed to touch one another so when a tooth is extracted, both the adjacent tooth and the tooth opposing the missing tooth will shift. This means that you will see a change in your smile such as gaps, uneven alignment, and a tooth longer than the others. Another consequence is, loss of jawbone and gum tissue, which results in an older appearance because of a sunken look to your facial features.
However, we can prevent all the consequences of not replacing a missing tooth or teeth. There are few options with the pros and cons for each of them.
Dental implants are the most effective way to replace a missing tooth. Not only is it durable, but its lifespan is longer compared to the others. This is also the nearest thing to a natural tooth available today. Implants are made from titanium that is safe for your body. It is surgically placed in the jawbone where you are having a missing tooth. However, the process is a bit longer than the others. Dental implant consists of the implant itself, abutment, and a crown. This does not a one-day procedure, but at least 3 months. Everyone is different, and it all just depends on if you need bone graft material, how fast your implant settles in, or if you have periodontal disease. This may seem like a long journey for some, but the reward for waiting is much more beneficial for long term durability, and lifespan of about 15 to 20 years.
Dental bridges are good for people who want a faster solution that does not require surgery. This procedure takes 3 weeks and just two visits to your dentist. It is more affordable than the implant. However, with dental bridges, the dentist would have to shave down the adjacent teeth, which are your two good permanent teeth to use as an anchor. The lifespan of the dental bridge is about 5-7 years, which is shorter than the implant. This does not help with keeping the bone in the area from atrophy occurring though. You will continue to lose bone in that area over time compared to the implant that will secure the bone indefinitely. Hygiene will be harder to keep up with because you can’t floss normal. You’ll have to buy a special floss that will get under your bridge since food can get caught there. Unfortunately, for the perfectionist, dental bridges are not as aesthetically pleasing than an implant.
Removable Partial Denture (RPD):
Removable partial denture known as a flipper, is the least expensive and the fastest thing you can have after an extraction to walk out the office without a missing tooth. However, it is primarily for esthetic purposes. You can’t chew with it on because it is a resin base that can break easily. You would have to take it off every night still leaving you with a gap that will create shifting of your teeth and bone loss. In order to hold the artificial tooth or teeth in place, a bulky plastic frame will be sitting in your mouth all day. Flipper is best used for just a temporary solution until you get a permanent replacement.
With all the options given to you, it is still ideal to speak to your dentist to help you choose what is best for you. Not everyone is a good candidate for implants, that’s why we offer free consultation here at Grand Mission Dentistry to make sure you are a good fit for an implant. Give us a call or make an appointment today so we can make sure you are on the right track in replacing a missing tooth.