There are millions of American adults missing at least one tooth- and many of those are missing most or all of their natural teeth. This condition is due to a variety of factors including poor oral hygiene, lack of access to adequate dental care, poor nutrition, genetics, and more. Missing teeth can lead to a variety of additional oral and overall health concerns.
The good news is, there are options for tooth replacement including dental implants, dental bridges, mini dental implants, dentures, implant-supported dentures, and more. In this article, we’ll explore the various options for tooth replacement.
Dental implants are a biocompatible device that is implanted into the jawbone to replace the entire structure of the missing tooth. The process involves an invasive oral surgery with an extensive recovery process. Typically, full recovery takes 6 months to a year or more, depending on your body’s ability to heal.
One of the primary disadvantages of dental implants is the cost. On average, a single dental implant costs around $5,000. A full set of dental implants can cost $60,000+.
Dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options because they look, feel, and function more like natural teeth and is safe for most patients. However, in some cases, dental implants are not an appropriate option.
There are many reasons that a patient may not be able to undergo oral surgery including other health concerns, lack of adequate bone density, fear of surgery, and more. In some cases, cost is a barrier for dental implants. In these situations, there are alternative options:
A dental bridge is a tooth replacement device designed to replace several missing teeth in a row. A traditional bridge relies on the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap to support the replacement. This requires some of the enamel on these teeth to be removed to create space for the crowns.
Conventional dentures can be used to replace some missing teeth or a full arch of missing teeth. This tooth replacement device sits on top of the gums. This allows patients to eat and speak clearly. However, dentures often slip and slide around in the mouth and must be relined or replaced every few years.
Mini dental implants are inserted into the gum, but not the jawbone. They sit just on top of or above the jawbone but provide more support than conventional dentures or dental bridge. While mini implants do require oral surgery, it is not as intensive, and the recovery is not as extensive as traditional dental implants.
Implant-supported dentures require 2 to 4 dental implants to support up to an entire arch of missing teeth. This provides the affordability of conventional dentures with the stability of dental implants. In some cases, the prosthesis can be placed on the same day as the implants, which means you won’t have to be without teeth at all but you will still need to be cautious about eating and oral care for several months until the jawbone fuses with the implants.
If you have a tooth that is severely infected, root canal therapy can be used to save the structure of the tooth. This is the process of removing the infected dental pulp. Then, the tooth is filed with a biocompatible material to support it from the inside and a dental filling is used to seal the tooth. In most cases, a dental crown will be placed on the tooth to protect it from the outside.
If your teeth are loose and you have signs/symptoms of gum disease, you may be able to salvage your natural teeth with gum disease treatment. This often involves a deep cleaning and proper oral care habits. However, with time, the condition can be reversed and you can prevent tooth loss.
Partial dentures are an option for patients who are missing some natural teeth. Partial dentures can be conventional or implant-supported.
Some of the most common questions asked about dental implants include:
Ultimately, the option you choose for tooth replacement is a personal one. You have to decide which is best for you based on the answers you get to your questions. For most people, dental implants are safe and effective.
If you are missing one or more teeth and weighing your tooth replacement options, schedule your consultation with the team at Ammons Dental by Design. We have four convenient locations to serve you.
Ammons Dental By Design blog is proudly run by our South Carolina Dental Team. We love to share knowledge and tips about the best dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, emergency dental care, and dental implants for the community in areas around Charleston, South Carolina. We have 4 clinics in Downtown Charleston, James Island, Summerville and Camden, SC
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