There are 178 million US adults missing at least one tooth and many options for replacement, knowing all of your options is important so you can make the most well informed decision.
- Single Tooth Implant
If you are missing just one tooth, then a single tooth implant to replace it may be your best option if there is enough bone remaining. An implant acts like the root of a tooth and a crown is then placed on top of it. The benefits of an implant are that they look and function like a normal tooth. Unlike a natural tooth an implant is not susceptible to tooth decay, although it can fail due to periodontal disease. They are easily one of the best choices If you are a candidate for an implant.
If you are missing more than one tooth , a bridge may be a good option for you. A bridge can be very beneficial if you don’t have enough bone remaining for implants OR if teeth adjacent to those missing are in need of restorations as well. The bridge not only replaces a missing tooth but provides crown coverage to those teeth adjacent creating a three or four unit permanent prosthesis. One disadvantage to a bridge is that because all of the teeth become connected by the bridge unit, if one tooth suffers from a cavity 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 better serve you. Many people like the ease of removing a partial denture. A benefit is that it can replace teeth without joining teeth together. A partial denture does depend on the support of remaining teeth so they will need to be maintained and healthy in order to support it.
- Full Arch Denture
If you have severe bone loss and/or are missing multiple teeth or all of your 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 many people find success with, but a full lower denture can be more difficult to get used to. 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. Placing 4-6 implants per arch is what is typically involved and the denture connects to the implants. This helps provide assistance so the denture doesn’t move 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 fixed, your dentist will be able to remove it for periodic cleaning. If it is removable, you will be able to remove and replace it daily yourself.
There are many options to choose from whatever your tooth replacement needs are. 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!