If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be all too aware of how important they are. You need teeth to chew, speak and smile. Even the loss of a back tooth could make you look older. Fortunately, you can fix the problem with replacement teeth.
The question is – how should you do it? You have three options – implants, fixed bridges and removable partial dentures. It’s important to get treatment immediately after a lost tooth. If not, your other teeth can drift out of place and change your bite. Shifting teeth could also lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
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Implants: Many patients choose implants to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or to support a full set of dentures. Implants are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth. They are made of titanium (a strong, lightweight metal).
Most patients find implants are a good solution – but they aren’t for everyone. Patients need to be in good overall health since the procedure requires surgery. The implant process needs the bone to grow around it and hold it in place. It may take up to several months before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant.
Fixed Bridges: This is a restoration that fills the space where one or more teeth have been lost. This type of bridge is cemented into place – only a dentist can remove it.
Removable Partial Denture: These usually have replacement teeth fixed to a plastic base that matches the color of your gums. As its name implies, you can easily take the partial denture out of your mouth to clean it.
Whatever replacement you choose, be sure to talk to your dentist about what option is best for you.