Missing teeth can cause discomfort and insecurities. It’s normal to feel like you can’t laugh or talk without feeling embarrassed about a gap in your teeth. Missing teeth can result from injury, gum disease, tooth decay, and sometimes even genetic disorders. The good news is that there are many different treatment options available for missing teeth with the help of your board certified dentist. Here’s what to know about your best options for completing your smile.
Implants are best for people who want to replace one tooth or have teeth missing in different areas of the mouth. Treatment involves a surgical mounting of titanium metal frames within the jaw. The fabricated tooth is then fixed permanently onto the implants for a tooth that looks and functions just like your natural teeth.
The best thing about dental implants is that the nearby teeth don’t require a reduction in enamel that can be required with other treatment options. However, you may not be a good candidate for dental implants if you have bone loss or weakness of your underlying jaw bone. Additionally, dental implants can take time for the bone to fuse and heal before placement, meaning the whole process can take six months or more.
Fixed Dental Bridge
Dental bridges are an option for people with one or more missing teeth in the same area. A fixed dental bridge helps bridge the gap between missing teeth using fabricated teeth or dental prosthetics. The prosthetics are attached to the nearby teeth and then bonded in place using dental cement. The benefits are that they are cheaper than dental implants, can be placed more quickly, and don’t require surgical placement. They also feel and look very natural, just like the rest of your teeth.
The downside of dental bridges is that they can be difficult to clean underneath and around which means plaque and bacteria can build up underneath. This means you’ll need to be proactive about your at-home care and seeing your dentist regularly for a thorough cleaning. Additionally, the nearby teeth will need to have some enamel reduced in order to place the supporting crowns, which can come with complications if not performed by a board certified dentist. A poorly-fitted bridge can also cause significant problems with your bite and overall oral health.
Removable Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are best for people looking to replace some of their teeth. However, complete or full dentures are also an option if you need significant replacement. Dentures look very similar to natural teeth and have a clasp to adjoin them to the natural teeth. These are the most affordable option for most patients, and they are easy to repair or replace.
However, dentures can require an adjustment period where you may experience discomfort while you get used to the feel. They also require regular care and cleaning to make sure you get the most use out of them.
Schedule an Appointment
It can feel overwhelming to look at your options for filling in gaps. The best way to learn more about the right treatment option for you is by meeting with Dr. Peter Zwier, who can create a customized treatment plan for your goals. To get started, we invite you to contact our Grand Rapids office by calling or filling out our online form.