If you are currently missing teeth, is important that you replace them to restore the form and function of you smile and to protect your dental health. Failure to replace missing teeth can lead to painful and expensive oral health issues including periodontal disease and bone loss. Also, if a missing tooth is not replaced, the adjacent teeth will shift to fill in the gap. This can cause problems with your bite as well as the alignment of your jaw.
But what is the best option for replacing missing teeth? It depends on your lifestyle, your dental and medical history and your budget. A qualified dentist can help you determine which option best suits your particular situation, however, it is helpful to know a little bit about the options that are currently available.
Dentures and partial dentures can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. A full set of dentures can be used to replace all the teeth in either the upper or lower arch of your mouth. Full dentures require the use of some type of denture adhesive cream to hold them into place and can be removed at night or for cleaning. If you have remaining teeth in either arch of your mouth, a partial denture can be used to replace only the teeth that are missing. A partial denture is held into place by a gum colored piece of plastic that rests on the top of the mouth and is attached by metal wires. Most dental insurance plans pay for at least a portion of the cost of dentures.
For some, dentures are a good fit. Others find dentures to be uncomfortable to wear and unnatural in appearance. Many patients also report that they are unable to enjoy foods that are harder to chew and do not like the hassle, taste, consistency and smell of denture adhesive creams.
Dental implants are another option for replacing one or more missing teeth and are considered by many to be the best available tooth replacement option. The process involves inserting prosthetic screws into the jawbone to take the place of missing tooth roots. Once the jawbone has healed and the screws have fused with the jawbone, crowns, bridges or partial dentures may be attached to the screws to take the place of missing teeth. Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care and result in replacement teeth that look, function and feel like natural teeth.
The only downsides to dental implants are the fact that they cost more than other tooth replacement options and are not fully covered under many dental insurance plans. They also require two procedures: one to insert the prosthetic screws into the jaw and one to attach the replacement teeth to the implants.
If you are currently missing teeth, don’t risk your dental health by failing to replace them. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today so he or she can help you determine the best tooth replacement option to meet your needs as well as your budget.
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