It is only possible to ignore a missing tooth for a little while. You might learn to chew on the opposite side of your mouth and you may cover your smile with your hand, but the side-effects of tooth loss will eventually lead to a steady decline in your oral health. To prevent your missing tooth from causing shifting and bone loss, don’t hesitate to consult a dentist in Smithfield NC about your tooth replacement choices.
To replace an individual missing tooth, there are several choices to consider:
- A dental implant
- A fixed dental bridge
- A removable partial denture
- No treatment or delayed treatment
- A dental implant
Unlike any other replacement tooth, a dental implant replaces the entire tooth, both above and below the gumline. This anatomically-correct design restores your chewing function and also maintains the shape and health of the jawbone. A dental implant post will permanently hold a natural-looking crown in place without any clasps and without connecting to the neighboring teeth.
A removable partial denture
A partial denture consists of a metal or acrylic framework that supports one or more false teeth. This removable appliance snaps or clasps together with your natural teeth during the day. A partial denture must be removed from the mouth every day for daily for cleaning and every night while you sleep. Partial dentures are designed to span across both sides of the mouth, making it suitable for replacing multiple teeth, but typically too bulky for replacing just one tooth.
A fixed bridge
A fixed bridge is used to connect two natural teeth that are separated by the space from a missing tooth. Each end of the bridge must cap or crown a natural tooth, requiring that the natural tooth be reshaped and reduced in size. The bridge is permanently cemented to the natural teeth which now serve as anchors on either side of a small false tooth. A bridge provides a steady, balanced biting surface and can be designed from metal and porcelain to resemble natural teeth.
Failing to replace missing teeth or delaying the appropriate treatment for an extended period of time can contribute to bone deterioration and the displacement of the remaining teeth. These complications can become worse with time, making your future treatment options more complicated and less successful.