Options for replacing missing teeth
So you're missing a tooth (or teeth) and you are wondering what your replacement options will look like. In today's blog, we will take a brief look into potential options for replacement.
1. The first option, and one you're probably most familiar with, is the dental bridge. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth (or teeth) are prepared and a pontic or "false tooth" connects them in the middle. This is a great option for patients who either can't have an implant or simply choose not to have implants placed. Cleaning under a bridge is very important, and your dental hygienist can show you how to use a floss threader or waterpik to keep it clean and healthy.
2. Another option is the implant. The dentist and oral surgeon will work together to determine whether or not an implant is a good option for you, based on bone levels, among other factors. The implant is seen as the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. It is securely placed in your bone and will look and function like a natural tooth. In this case, our the oral surgeon would place the implant and Dr. Kuker would make the beautiful custom crown that attaches to the implant itself.
3. For patients who are missing more teeth, a denture, or ideally, an implant supported denture may be the best option. Implant supported dentures can replace several missing teeth, while providing stability to chew. There are two types of implant supported dentures to choose from: "snap on" or removable, and the fixed implant denture.
Type 1: The "snap on denture" is an option that provides stability of an implant, while giving the patient the option to remove their denture for easy cleaning.
Type 2: The fixed denture is ideal for patients who do not want to be able to remove their denture. It is typically held in place by screws that go through the denture and into the implant. The picture below depicts placement of the screws that will hold the denture in place.
4. Other non-implant ways to replace teeth include:
Full denture: The major drawback to the full denture is possible mobility when chewing, particularly on the lower arch.
Partial denture: A partial denture is removable, but more stable than a full denture because it hooks around adjacent teeth for stability.