Despite advances in dentistry and oral hygiene, tooth loss remains a problem for many people in the United States. Tooth loss can be an embarrassing problem affecting your confidence, your self-esteem and your overall quality of life. It can also cause serious dental problems such as gum disease and bone loss. If you are missing a tooth, it is important to replace it to protect the health of your remaining teeth.
Today’s tooth replacement options include bridges, partial dentures, full dentures and dental implants. Each of these options has its unique advantages and disadvantages.
A bridge is a restorative dental procedure used to bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It consists of a pontic (false tooth), held in place by crowns that are attached to the abutment teeth. A bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these.
A removable partial denture usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a plastic base. The partial denture is connected by a metal framework that holds the denture into place. A partial denture is used when there are remaining teeth on the upper or lower arch. If there are no remaining teeth on the upper or lower arch, a full denture is used to replace all the teeth.
Dental implants are prosthetic anchors that are placed in the jawbone to take the place of missing tooth roots. Once they have healed and have fused with the jawbone, they can be used as anchors for crowns, bridges and partial dentures. Although dental implants are more expensive than other tooth replacement options, they are considered to be the most effective, long-term tooth solution and allow for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.
If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, schedule a consultation with a qualified restorative dentist in your local area. He or she can review your dental history, examine your teeth and help determine the best tooth replacement option to suit your needs as well as your lifestyle and your budget.
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