5 Options for Replacing a Missing Tooth

5 Options for Replacing a Missing Tooth
A missing tooth can certainly change the appearance of your smile. Whether a missing tooth is the result of gum disease, injury, severe tooth decay, or a genetic condition, a missing tooth can cause several problems.

Regardless of the way a tooth is lost, it can negatively impact the alignment of your teeth over time and cause a number of problems down the road if it isn’t replaced. Sometimes the value of your teeth isn’t realized until they are lost, and unfortunately, teeth do not last forever. Even the loss of a single tooth can have a negative impact on your oral health and confidence.

A missing tooth or teeth can also affect your speech, ability to chew your food, the integrity of your jawbone, and cause the slow shifting of your teeth into some of the empty spaces.

Luckily, there are a number of excellent options available to replace your missing tooth or teeth to help restore your beautiful smile, including:

1. Dental implants

Dental implants are one of the most common methods of tooth replacement. Dental implants are a very reliable type of tooth replacement that both looks and feels like a real tooth. Dental implants provide a permanent solution if you need to replace a single tooth, or multiple teeth, in different areas. If taken care of, dental implants can last you a lifetime.

The process of placing your dental implant can be somewhat lengthy. It begins with the replacement of your tooth’s root with metal screws, which will be used as an anchor for the false tooth placed on top. Once the screws have been put into place, you will need to allow the implant to heal for a few months, during which time, the implant becomes securely fused to your jawbone. Once the implant has healed completely, a dental crown will be placed on top and secured.

Pros of Dental Implants:

  • They are one of the most effective options to replace missing teeth
  • They provide a very natural look and feel
  • There is no involvement of your neighbouring teeth, so adjacent teeth remain intact
  • They are a permanent, lifelong replacement, requiring no regular check-ups.

Cons of Dental Implants:

  • They are one of the most expensive tooth replacement options, ranging anywhere from $3000 to $6000
  • The implant is screwed into the jawbone, which requires invasive surgical procedures, a significant healing time, and the possibility for infection.

2. Implant-supported bridge

An implant-supported bridge is an ideal solution for multiple missing teeth in a row. The process of replacing each tooth with a dental implant can be very lengthy and unnecessary.

With an implant-supported bridge, only the teeth at the two ends are secured in place with implants. The teeth in the middle of the two ends are held in place without any screwing.

Pros of Implant-Supported Bridges

  • An economical choice for replacing several missing teeth in a row
  • The bridge is equally as effective as a dental implant
  • They provide a natural look.

Cons of Implant-Supported Bridges

  • They can only be used under certain circumstances when there are several missing teeth in a row
  • Implant-supported bridges are not a permanent solution, and the bridges will need to be replaced
  • The placement of an implant-supported bridge requires numerous visits to the dentist.

3. Tooth-supported bridge

A tooth-supported bridge uses your existing teeth to support the placement of a bridge, rather than placing two implants into your teeth. A crown is placed on the teeth, which are next to the missing ones and cemented into place. The procedure is completed over a few visits.

Pros of Tooth-Supported Bridges

  • A tooth-supported bridge provides the same realistic look and feel of that of a dental implant
  • There is no surgery required, so the process is less invasive
  • A tooth-supported bridge is a more economical option compared to dental implants.

Cons of Tooth-Supported Bridges

  • The adjacent teeth receiving the crowns will need to be filed to the appropriate size for the crown to fit which increases chances of infection down the road
  • The adjoining teeth can be damaged over time if the bridge is poorly fitted
  • Food particles can slip underneath the bridge and become harder to clean, so if you aren’t careful with your cleaning, there is a greater risk of infection and bone loss .

4. Removable partial dentures

Removable partial dentures are a comparatively simpler option to replace missing teeth, similar to dental implants. Compared to a complete set of dentures for all your teeth, removable partial dentures are suggested for individuals with a few missing teeth.

Removable partial dentures are clasped into its correct place, which ensures that the false teeth are held in the appropriate spots.

Pros of Removable Partial Dentures

  • Additional teeth can be added directly to the partial denture if any teeth are lost in the future, which can help you save time and money
  • Removable partial dentures are one of the cheapest options for tooth replacement
  • Partial dentures are easy to repair and replace if needed
  • The application of partial dentures is simple and only requires the addition of metal clasps.

Cons of Removable Partial Dentures

  • Partial dentures can be uncomfortable
  • The dentures must be removed and cleaned on a daily basis and removed before sleeping
  • Partial dentures do not blend in or appear as natural as dental implants because the metal clasps are visible.

5. Flipper

A flipper is a temporary partial denture which has the ability to flip in and out of its position. A flipper is not dependent on any surrounding teeth and does not have any metal clasps.

Pros of a Flipper

  • It is a relatively cheap and painless option to replace a missing tooth
  • A flipper is a much lighter option compared to a partial denture
  • Provides a temporary tooth replacement option until a more permanent option is available.

Cons of a Flipper

  • The flipper can be uncomfortable
  • A flipper is built to be a temporary option, so its bulky design poses a greater chance of breaking.

There are many excellent options to remedy a missing tooth, whether the tooth was lost through injury, gum disease, or decay. Each option has its share of pros and cons, which a dental professional can help you weigh based on your specific needs and budget.

At Bloor West Smiles Dental, our team of highly trained and dedicated professionals can help guide you towards the best solution for your missing teeth. At Bloor West Smiles Dental, we’re committed to helping you and your family maintain excellent oral health for life.

If you are missing a tooth or teeth and would like more information about your treatment options, call Bloor West Smiles Dental today at 416-766-2853 or contact us here.

Updated for 2022

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