What happens when a permanent tooth is lost?
Not only are teeth important for chewing food, they help us speak clearly, and provide esthetic benefits (appearance).
When a tooth is removed, unfavorable things can happen if it is not replaced. Drifting of other teeth into the open space can cause a change in the way the teeth fit together when biting or chewing. When other teeth begin to tip, food can become trapped and cause decay. Bone structure that once supported the missing teeth will start to slowly shrink away (called 'resorption').
Options for replacing teeth range from bridges, full or partial dentures, to implants. We can examine the health and foundation of your mouth and help you choose the best options for your needs.
Fixed bridges replace one or more teeth and are cemented in place. Healthy teeth on both sides of the opening are prepared for supporting the bridge. Natural-looking replacement teeth are made from the same material as crowns, such as metal or porcelain and ceramic.
Dentures are removable for cleaning. Replacement teeth are fixed to an acrylic base and are fitted onto the gum and bone ridge for stability. Partial dentures may include a metal framework and may have attached clasps for anchoring the partial to other remaining teeth. Over time, the mouth may change, and adjustments to the fit of the prosthesis may need to be made. However, if bone loss becomes significant, other options may need to be explored, as the fit of a removable denture may be compromised.
Implants have become the best replacement of missing teeth for those with adequate bone structure and overall good health. Because implants are integrated into the bone ridge much like a tooth root, resorption is minimized, and they look and function just like natural teeth. The process involves several phases, including healing time.
Please give our office a call if you would like more detailed information about these options.