The effects of tooth loss can often become immediately apparent: impaired speech, dietary restrictions, and reduced self-image, to name a few. Over time, more serious effects in the form of health risks and changing facial structure can also arise from missing teeth. To avoid or resolve these negative consequences, consider the various tooth replacement options offered by our Manhattan dental practice. Whether you need one or multiple teeth replaced, the right treatment can spare years of embarrassment and potential complications.
Common Treatments for Tooth Replacement
Depending on the type of tooth loss and a patient’s dental health, different tooth replacement methods may be suggested by your cosmetic dentist. For most patients, one of the three treatments below can adequately restore a full smile:
- Dental implants: Implants are made to replace individual teeth by being installed directly into the jaw. Each implant mimics the function of a tooth’s roots, providing strong support for a crown or similar restoration. Because an implant fuses with surrounding bone tissue, it is the preferred treatment for preventing bone loss as a result of missing teeth.
- Dental bridges: A bridge rests above the gum line, supported by adjacent healthy teeth. One or more replacement teeth are attached in the middle, effectively filling the gap. Bridges are ideal for patients who cannot have implants installed, do not wish to undergo surgery, or have multiple missing teeth.
- Dentures: Partial or full dentures are a common and simple solution to numerous lost teeth. After taking impressions of your mouth, a dentist can create a mold of replacement teeth that are customized to complement the rest of your smile. Full dentures are a great solution to widespread tooth loss, while removable partial dentures can provide the benefits of a bridge without affecting healthy teeth.
Replacing Single Teeth
When a single tooth is in need of replacement, there are a couple of treatment options. The two primary forms of single tooth replacement, dental implants and bridges, each require different conditions for support.
Dental implants require healthy gums and bone tissue, without which the implant can fail or present health risks. Generally, candidates for implants should be free of gum disease and have enough remaining jawbone structure to reinforce and fuse with the implant. Patients without enough bone tissue may benefit from a bone graft, although individual candidacy should be determined by a dentist.
Dental bridges do not require support directly from the gum or jaw, but are instead held in place by neighboring teeth. Patients must therefore have full, healthy teeth on either side of a lost tooth in order to support a bridge. These teeth will be capped by crowns attached to the bridge, resulting in permanent attachment to the restoration or future restorations.
Each treatment comes with different benefits. Dental implants are generally stronger and more reliable, and prevent further bone loss because they replace the missing roots. They also do not require any changes to otherwise healthy teeth. Dental bridges, on the other hand, do not require oral surgery or a lengthy recovery process.
Replacing Multiple Teeth
Dental bridges can also be used for the replacement of multiple teeth. Like single-tooth bridges, candidates should have at least two healthy natural teeth for support. If remaining teeth cannot be crowned by a bridge, a few strategically placed dental implants can be used instead. These implants can help secure the bridge as well as any subsequent restorations.
When a majority of teeth are missing, however, a bridge is not always the best treatment. Instead, patients may want to consider partial removable dentures, to preserve their remaining teeth, or full dentures.
- Partial removable dentures: Replacement teeth are affixed to a plastic mold that rests over your gums, similar to a full denture. This mold is held in place by remaining teeth or implants, either from the mold itself or through a metal bracket. Partial dentures are a good option for patients whose teeth cannot support a bridge.
- Full dentures: Traditional dentures are an effective method of replacing full sets of teeth, and can be held in place through a number of ways. Whether through suction, a mesh installed into the gums, or dental implants, dentures can combat any degree of tooth loss.
Come In for a Consultation
Before deciding which tooth replacement treatment is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Benjamin. Contact us to learn more about our restorative treatments or to schedule an appointment.