The health and quality of your teeth have a tremendous impact on your ability to eat, speak, and smile. Therefore, it’s easy to see why tooth loss can significantly impact your quality of life. When patients are missing teeth, they’re understandably eager to explore replacement options and get their smile back to normal as quickly as possible.
If you’re missing teeth, you’ll be happy to know there are several treatment options available that can help. However, some options last longer than others, while others are more expensive. The right step for you ultimately depends on your personal situation. Here are some of the most common options:
Dentures are a common solution when patients lose a significant number of teeth. Dentures are prosthetic replacements for teeth and gums and are formed to fit your mouth. They improve the appearance of your smile, as they do look like real teeth, and they also give you the ability to chew comfortably. They aren’t permanently fastened to the gums, so you can remove them at any time.
Dentures are a good, affordable solution for patients who have lost all teeth on the entire upper and/or lower jaw. Some patients have no problem with dentures, while others find them to be uncomfortable. The shape and size of your jaw often play a role in the comfort level.
A dental bridge is a restorative procedure where false teeth are inserted in place of missing teeth and secured in place. The bridge consists of dental crowns on either side of this missing array of teeth.
During the procedure, your dental professional will reshape the nearby teeth which will support the abutment. Then, impressions will be made of your teeth, and they’ll be used to create the bridge, crowns, and artificial teeth. On a second visit, your dental professional will install the bridge.
Dental bridges are affordable, relatively simple, and don’t require any surgery. They’re also more comfortable and secure than dentures. However, on the flip side — to secure a bridge in place, you’ll need to undergo alterations to teeth that may be perfectly healthy. Also, dental bridges only last about 15 years, so they’re not always a permanent solution.
If a patient is experiencing bone loss, the jaw and surrounding teeth may not be strong enough to support a dental bridge.
Dental implants are prosthetic teeth implanted into the gums and jaw. The teeth are attached to a titanium screw, and the screw is connected to the jaw.
Dental implants are widely considered to be one of the best treatment options for missing teeth, as they actually look and feel like real teeth. Implants allow patients to eat, speak, and smile with no problems or discomfort. In fact, many patients don’t even realize they’re there.
Dental implants are highly recommended for patients who are having trouble eating or speaking due to tooth loss. Some of the benefits of dental implants include:
- Function Like Real Teeth: Following the placement of dental implants, you can expect your bite to feel back to normal, or pretty close to it. Implants also look like real teeth, so you’ll also have your smile back.
- Patients With Bone Loss Can Receive Them: Since dental implants are secured to your jaw, your jaw needs to be strong enough to support them. However, if you’ve suffered from bone loss, all hope isn’t lost. An experienced periodontist can perform a bone grafting procedure to strengthen your jaw as part of a dental implant procedure.
- Durable – Dental implants can last for decades, especially when you care for them. The average lifespan of dental implants is 25 years.
- Comfortable – Dental implants are far more comfortable than dentures and bridges, which is one of the reasons why they’re such a popular choice.
While dental implants are usually considered the best choice, they do come with a few drawbacks that you should be aware of:
- They Take Time – Dental implants are usually installed over the course of multiple office visits, spread out over several months. This is because, during each step of the process, the gums need time to heal.
- They’re Expensive – Dental implants are not the most affordable option for replacing missing teeth. In fact, they can be very expensive. While in many cases, they’re well worth the investment, it’s important to keep in mind dental insurance often does not cover them.
- They Require Surgery – Because implants are connected to your jaw, they’re considered a surgical procedure and are often placed while patients are under general anesthesia.
The good news is there are many options available for patients who have suffered from tooth loss. The most important step is seeking the advice of an experienced dental professional to help you make the best choice. Contact Ormond Beach Perio for a consultation today.