With over 50% of US adults missing at least one tooth and many options for replacement, it’s important to know all of your options so you can make the most well informed decision.
- Single Tooth Implant
If you’re missing a single tooth, the best option for replacing it may be a single tooth implant as long as there’s enough bone remaining. An implant acts like the root of a tooth and a crown is then placed on top of it. An implant acts and feels like a normal tooth. Unlike a natural tooth an implant is not susceptible to tooth decay, although it can fail due to periodontal disease. If you are a candidate for an implant, they are easily one of the best choices.
If you are missing one or two teeth, a bridge may be a good option for you. This is a good option for people who do not have enough bone to support an implant OR if teeth adjacent to those missing are in need of repair as well. The bridge not only replaces a missing tooth but provides crown coverage to those teeth nearby creating a three or four unit permanent prosthesis. One risk of a bridge is that because all of the teeth become connected by the bridge unit, if one tooth suffers from decay then the whole bridge must be removed and replaced.
- Partial Denture
If you are missing multiple teeth and a bridge is not feasible, a removable partial denture may suit your needs. Many people enjoy the option of removing a partial denture easily. A benefit is that it can replace teeth without joining teeth together. A partial denture does rely on the support of remaining teeth so they will need to be healthy in order to support it.
- Full Arch Denture
If you have severe bone loss and/or are missing many teeth a full denture may be the best option. Although a denture does require bone for support, it may not require as much as implants. A full upper denture is very successful for many people, however a lower denture can be a more complicated fit. A lower denture doesn’t benefit from the suction mechanism that the upper denture does.
- Multi-Implant Supported Denture, Fixed or Removable
Like the full arch denture, if you are missing many or all of your teeth the implant supported denture may be a good option. This involves typically placing 4-6 implants per arch that the denture connects to. These implants help provide support so the denture doesn’t slide around. Having this security often provides improved self esteem for anyone missing teeth. It can also make eating and speaking easier. An implant supported denture can be either fixed or removable.If it is removable, you will be able to remove and replace it daily yourself. If it is fixed, your dentist will be able to remove it for periodic cleaning.
Whatever your tooth replacement needs are there are many options to choose from. Your dentist will be able to provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision for your oral health. If you have questions regarding any of your options do not hesitate to ask!