Lost Tooth: What Options are Available?

By: Jennifer Kimberley

If you have lost a tooth, don't worry. There are many options available today to reconstruct your mouth so that it will look and function like it did before you lost your tooth.

Bridges with Crowns

The first option you have to replace your lost tooth is getting a bridge placed where your tooth is missing. It is called a fixed bridge, because it is permanently placed in your mouth. It is attached to crowns which cap the neighboring teeth on either side. In order to attach the crowns to the neighboring teeth, some of the tooth structure of the neighboring teeth needs to be reduced. These crowns are the supports for the bridge. The bridge itself is made of a prosthetic tooth, so it isn't noticeable when people see you smile.

Alternatively, you can get a type of bridge called a Maryland bridge which is attached to the neighboring teeth with dental adhesive, so less tooth structure needs to be removed from the neighboring teeth.

Dentures

Another option to replace your lost tooth or teeth is dentures. Dentures consist of a partial or complete set of artificial (false) teeth set in a base which sits directly on top of your gums. They are kept in place with denture adhesive. Partial sets of dentures are often referred to as partials. They look natural when you smile, but they may be uncomfortable because of the pressure on your gums. You can't use as much chewing force as you did when you had natural teeth. You may have some trouble getting used to how to speak when they are in place, and they may sometimes come loose if the denture adhesive doesn't hold well. Dentures must be removed each night and cleaned using a denture cleaner. You then replace them each morning.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the new standard of care for replacing missing teeth. This is because they act, feel, and look like natural teeth. Dental implants have a titanium screw which is implanted into the jawbone, a titanium post which is attached to the screw, and a crown which is placed on top of the post. Because of the way that dental implants are constructed and attached to the jawbone, they are the most effective method for replacing teeth. They are strong and can withstand normal biting and chewing pressure. They also help preserve the bone, since it still has the function of holding teeth in. They are permanent and won't slip or make it difficult for you to speak or function. In fact, you will want to show off your dental implants because you will no longer have a gap where your tooth was missing.

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