Your smile is an important part of your first impression. Having a great smile can also improve your confidence and make you friendlier. However, a missing tooth can seriously diminish your confidence in your smile. That's why it's well worth investigating your options for replacing a missing tooth. In addition to regaining your full glorious smile, you'll also be able to chew your food properly and increase the overall health of your mouth.
While the best option for you will depend on your exact situation, each of the options discussed below might be right for you. Discuss each of them with your dentist to determine the best course of action.
Three Popular Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
Each of the following options are commonly used to replace any teeth that may be missing.
- Dental Implants. When only one or two teeth needs to be replaced, many patients opt for dental implants. Dental implants are surgically implanted into your upper or lower jaw. A titanium post functions as the tooth root, with a crown on top to replace the missing tooth. The implant looks like one of your natural teeth and is very stable. It's not going to fall out and it doesn't require you to take it out to clean it. Instead, just maintain basic dental hygiene and keep your dentist appointments.
- Removable Partial Denture. This option is a specialized type of denture that is made specifically for your mouth. As opposed to full dentures, which are a full set of teeth, a partial denture only replaces the teeth that are missing. Many partial dentures have a metal framework that attaches to your gums or your healthy teeth. Typically, patients will remove their partial dentures at night and clean them, just like full dentures. This makes them a higher maintenance option as compared to dental implants, but they also don't require surgery.
- Fixed Bridges. A fixed bridge will fill the space where the missing tooth once was. The bridge is cemented into place and can only be removed by a dentist. Unlike a dental implant, the fixed bridge can be placed in a single visit. The material used for the replacement teeth in the bridge varies from metal, to ceramics to glass-ceramics. Bridges are fake teeth that are cemented to the existing teeth on either side. Bridges look and feel like natural teeth, however they do require extra daily cleaning.
Which Replacement Tooth Option is Right for You?
Each of these options has different benefits and drawbacks. One requires major surgery, while others can be done on a single visit. It's wise to discuss your options with your dentist, as they know your exact situation.