For those who need tooth replacement, it can be overwhelming looking at all of the different options available at Commonwealth Prosthodontics, and difficult to figure out which treatment would best suit their individual needs. Below is an in-depth look at the various options for replacing missing teeth that will provide the information you need for making that important decision.
Option One: Dental Implants
What are they?
Dental implants are an artificial replacement for natural tooth roots that are made to function like the user’s own teeth. They are secured in the jawbone with a metal artificial root and topped with a permanent, making it a fixed and permanent solution for your missing teeth.
- Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, so they easily blend in with the rest of the teeth, resulting in a pleasing cosmetic appearance.
- Unlike dentures that may not fit properly, dental implants don’t slip inside the mouth, so speech is unaffected.
- Since they function as the user’s own teeth, dental implants easily allow chewing without worry.
- Dental implants are incredibly durable, lasting a lifetime with proper care.
- Nearby teeth don’t need to be altered for dental implants to fit, which improves oral health.
- Oral hygiene is easy with dental implants; since they act like natural teeth, they can be cared for the way the user’s other teeth would be.
- Those who get dental implants have to undergo oral surgery for it, which is more invasive than may be desired.
- Dental implants tend to be expensive, and generally not covered by dental insurance, which can be difficult to handle for many people.
Option Two: Implant-Supported Fixed Bridge
What are they?
An implant-supported fixed bridge, used when more than one tooth is missing, is similar to a dental bridge but instead of being supported by the teeth, it’s supported by implants. Typically, an implant is put in the jawbone for each missing tooth, and then the crowns are connected to form one piece, or a “bridge.”
- Implant-supported bridges feel more secure, unlike a removable denture.
- They allow for comfortable chewing of regular foods as well as easy speech.
- The bridge appears to be the same as the other natural teeth, so it’s pleasing aesthetically.
- It is less expensive to get than single dental implants for every tooth.
- Practicing oral hygiene is easy, as they can be cared for just as the rest of the user’s teeth.
- It should last a long time before needing to be replaced.
- Though less expensive than single dental implants, it is still relatively expensive on its own, which can be troubling.
- Implant-supported bridges require a good amount of visits and can take much longer for treatment than other options, which can be time consuming for a patient.
- Oral surgery is required to put the bridge in place, which some may not be comfortable with.
Option Three: Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridge
What are they?
A tooth-supported fixed bridge is similar to an implant-supported fixed bridge, but it relies on existing teeth to support it. The bridge is kept in position by crowns that cover the two natural teeth next to a gap of missing teeth, which must be reshaped so the crowns fit securely. The replacement teeth in the gap, called pontics, rest on the gums to create a natural look.
- They feel and work just as the natural teeth.
- Treatment usually only takes a few weeks to complete, which is much quicker than previous options, and doesn’t require surgery.
- Oral hygiene is easy, since the bridge can be looked after the same as other teeth.
- It is less expensive than implant-supported options.
- The teeth next to the gap must be ground down so they can support the bridge, which takes away from the previously complete healthy tooth.
- While less expensive than above options, it is still more expensive than a removable denture.
- It typically will not last as long as implant-supported bridges.
Option Four: Removable Dentures
What are they?
Removable dentures are made of replacement teeth attached to a plastic base, usually gum-colored. It will, a lot of times, have metal framework and clasps to hold it in place, but allow it to be removed by the user.
- They are less expensive than implants, or fixed bridge solutions.
- Treatment is quicker, and doesn’t require surgery.
- It effectively fills the gaps that missing teeth have left, which can improve confidence and the ability to talk and eat comfortably.
- They feel more awkward and bulky, especially at first.
- It can cause certain areas in the mouth to become sore from pressure.
- Eating and speaking may not be as easy as it would with other options.
- They must be cleaned very frequently, as bacterial plaque builds up easily with them.
- They are not as stable, and can become ill-fitting or even break.
Each of these forms of treatment are an effective option for improving oral health and restoring confidence in the patients that need them. The professionals at Commonwealth Prosthodontics have an on-site lab to create and care for many types of tooth replacement options and minimize patient wait times. If you’re in need of prosthodontic care, contact Commonwealth Prosthodontics for an appointment at 804-346-3366 to start your journey towards a new smile!