What’s the Best Solution for my Missing Teeth?
Replacing missing teeth is a big decision that can require a lot of dental work, so knowing your options and which solution is best for you is important. There are three ways to replace missing teeth: implants, fixed bridges and removable partial dentures. So which solution will work best for you?
Dental implants are often the best solution to replace single and multiple missing teeth. But it is a long process that often requires two surgical procedures and is the most expensive solution of the three.
A dental implant requires your dentist to drill a hole into the jaw bone where the missing tooth is. An implant is then placed in the hole. After the bone heals around the implant, your dentist can finally attach the crown to the implant. This process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to complete depending on your circumstances and body’s natural healing. This process may also require your dentist to build up your jaw bone fit there’s not enough bone to attach the implant to. In those cases, it can take over a year to complete the implant process.
Although dental implants are the most invasive solution, they are the most similar to a natural tooth and can last up to 25 years.
Pros of Dental Implants
- It’s the most similar to a natural tooth
- Nearby teeth are not affected
- Studies show they last around 25 years
- They are easy to clean and don’t have to be removed for cleaning
- They may prevent bone loss
Cons of Dental Implants
- They require surgery
- They take longer and require more office visits than other options
- They are more costly
Fixed bridges are replacements for missing teeth that are bonded together by cement that can fill the space where one or more teeth are missing. This process usually requires more than one dentist visit. During the first visit your dentist will drill down the teeth next to where your replacement will be. These existing teeth will support your fixed bridge. Your dentist will also make an impression of your teeth in order to make the bridge.
Your bridge will have two crowns that will fit over your natural teeth that your dentist drilled to male smaller, and your replacement teeth, called pontics, will be placed and cemented together in between the crowns.
Pros of Fixed Bridges
- They look and feel like natural teeth
- They do not have to be removed to be cleaned
- They cost less than implants
- They don’t require surgery
Cons of Fixed Bridged
- They affect the teeth next to the bridge
- They are more difficult to clean under the pontic
Removal Partial Dentures
Removable partial dentures are used to replace multiple missing teeth. The partial dentures are made up of a plastic base that matched the color of your gums and are made to fit over the gums where the teeth are missing. The base has the replacement teeth attached to it and usually has a metal clasp that helps attach the dentures to your natural teeth. Partial dentures are removable and easy to clean.
Partial dentures usually take a few weeks to get used to and you may require new ones as your mouth changes over time.
Pros of Removable Partial Dentures
- They are the least expensive option
- They are easier to repair than fixed bridges
- They require a shorter and non invasive process to be installed
Cons of Removable Partial Dentures
- They are less stable than the other options
- They can be broken and can be lost
- They may be uncomfortable and take a few weeks to get used to
- They must be taken out at night to be cleaned
- They may need to be replaced frequently
Make an appointment to speak to your dentist about options for replacing your missing teeth