Having a missing front tooth can be embarrassing. It can be hard to smile for fear that people will judge you for that large gap in your teeth- and not just the esthetic side of it, missing teeth can be a long-term dental problem. The remaining teeth will begin to move and shift out of position. It is important to replace the missing tooth, but what are the options?
For the front teeth, sometimes it is called a dental flipper. It is a single tooth temporary denture. It can only really serve as a temporary solution. It is mostly there to prevent a gap in the mouth and as a cosmetic solution. Generally speaking, one would not want a denture as a front tooth for the long-term. It’s difficult to put any pressure on a dental flipper for actual eating. Most patients report they end up taking them out to eat.
There is also a large amount of care that comes with any partial denture. They need to be cleaned specially with a denture brush and taken out at nighttime to soak in a solution so they don’t become dry and brittle. If not properly taken care of they could become damaged and need replacing. They are more noticeable than the alternative options and lots of people are worried about them falling out publicly since you are able to take them in and out of your mouth.
Bridges are a different option for replacing a missing tooth and are typically made of porcelain. When bridges are placed in the mouth to replace a tooth, the neighboring teeth next to it are ground down to little stubs. This allows for two crowns to be placed in the teeth directly next to the missing one, to hold the tooth in the middle down. The neighboring teeth will be ground down quite a bit and you will go from needing one artificial tooth to having three.
This could be a good option if the teeth next to the missing one are broken, decayed, or stained, but if the teeth next to the missing one are healthy, then it is compromising perfectly healthy teeth. Nothing lasts forever. You will mostly likely eventually end up losing all three teeth and needing an artificial replacement for them down the road.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth anchored by a post that is directly placed into the jawbone. They are a more long-term alternative to dentures or bridges. They are designed to function more like real teeth. With a dental implant, the crown is placed directly on a titanium post that is anchored into the jawbone.
Most dentists would agree that dental implants are safer because they don’t sacrifice the health of surrounding teeth. They are more reliable since they are placed directly into the jawbone.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
Dental implants can replace a single tooth or multiple teeth but when replacing a single tooth, you do not need to grind or break out neighboring teeth. The first step would be extracting any rotten teeth left (if there are any) along with a bone graft and membrane band-aid. Next there will be a titanium screw that gets placed in the jawbone.
This is the most important part of the procedure since it is what holds the actual artificial tooth in place. After it is placed the patient will have to wait approximately four to six months for the screw and the bone to bond together.
Next, the artificial tooth your dentist designs for your mouth will be placed. It will be designed to match the shape and color of surrounding teeth for the most natural looking outcome.
Lastly, your tooth will be attached to an abutment, which serves as a sealer for the screw and the implant, connecting them together. From here on out you will have a full smile again you can feel confident and proud of. With the implant comes easy care, just exactly how you would with your real teeth.
Single tooth dental implants replace the root as well as the tooth, leaving the jawbone completely intact, making them the most attractive choice in the long term. You will not lose your smile or shape of face from using this option. They are easier to clean and don’t trap bacteria the way bridges do making them safer and simpler to maintain. You treat a dental implant the exact same way you would a regular tooth so you can go back to a normal care routine.
Are Dental implants the right choice for you?
Dental implants are the dentist preferred long-term option to replace a missing tooth or even multiple teeth. They are designed to be virtually indistinguishable from other teeth and they do require special care differently than partial dentures or dental bridges. If you are looking for something that will be long-term, easy to maintain, and cosmetically pleasing, then dental implants are most likely the best option for you.
What makes single tooth implants a better option than bridges or partial dentures?
Partial dentures and bridges are more cost efficient in the short-term, but it comes with a different kind of price. You sacrifice longevity and time to care for them. It’s essential to consider all of the options especially knowing that in the long run you want to continue to feel confident and happy with your smile. Everyone wants a chance at normalcy and that is precisely what dental implants can give.