How to Choose the Right Replacement Teeth
Few smile repairs are as dramatic as replacing a missing tooth or teeth. In addition to improving your appearance, replacement teeth will also affect how your smile feels and functions. And they will help prevent the dental damage that can result from a missing tooth, such as shrinkage of your jawbone.
Our Jacksonville, TX dentists know it’s an important decision. We want you to have as much information as possible so you can choose the right replacement teeth. We recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Larry Folden or Dr. Bradley Westbrook. That way, they can walk you through all of your options and answer any questions. Call All Smiles at 903-625-9297 to schedule your appointment.
What Happens If You Don’t Do Anything
You could, of course, do nothing. That may seem tempting if a missing tooth is located in a not-so-visible part of your mouth. But it’s a bad idea, for several reasons. Missing teeth may force you to eat softer foods to avoid difficulties with chewing. So you’ll likely consume fewer healthy foods like crunchy raw vegetables and fruit.
Remaining teeth also tend to shift, to “fill in” places where a tooth is gone. This can change your bite, causing problems like jaw pain. And without stimulation, the jawbone near missing teeth shrinks. That’s what causes that “caved-in” look that makes you look older.
Single Tooth Replacement Options
If you need to replace a single tooth, your choices are: a dental crown attached to a dental implant or a dental bridge. Neither solution will require special care once in place. You can just brush and floss your teeth as usual.
The preparation for your new tooth is quite different, though. A dental implant is a tiny titanium screw that is embedded right in your jaw. This offers several advantages. Because it functions a lot like a natural tooth root, it’s the solution most like your own smile. There is almost no chance your new tooth will become dislodged. Most important, the implant stimulates your jaw. So your bone will remain strong and healthy.
The implant can take a few months to heal after it’s placed, though. So you may have to wait a while to get your replacement tooth. Depending on where in your mouth the tooth is located, the condition of your bone, and other factors, our dentists may be able to use a mini dental implant. About half the size of a full-size implant, it can typically support a replacement tooth right away.
In contrast, there is no need to wait months for a dental bridge. Our dentists put dental crowns on the two teeth adjacent to your missing tooth. The crowns support the replacement tooth, called a pontic. In essence, it works just like a bridge spanning a canyon.
What If You’re Missing Multiple Teeth?
If you’ve got several missing teeth, you can choose a bridge or partial dentures. Perhaps the biggest difference between bridges and partial dentures is that bridges are fixed in place. You won’t remove them for cleaning, as you do with dentures.
Depending on the type of partial dentures you choose, there may be no need to modify your surrounding teeth with dental crowns. The most affordable partials use metal clasps that clip onto nearby teeth. You may still need crowns if other types of attachments are used.
Dental Implants Are a Versatile, Healthy Choice
Our Jacksonville, TX dentists can use dental implants to support:
- A dental crown, to replace a single tooth
- A dental bridge or partial dentures, to replace several adjacent missing teeth
- Full dentures, to replace an entire mouthful of teeth
Perhaps the biggest advantage of implants is their positive impact on your overall oral health. They’ll stimulate the bone supporting your teeth so it remains intact. This is not only healthier, but will keep you looking younger! Implants offer other advantages too, including:
- They should last a lifetime, with proper care.
- They’ll keep your replacement teeth securely in place. You can eat whatever you’d like. You’ll never need adhesive again!
- Unlike traditional dentures, you won’t need regular fit adjustments.
CEREC Same-Day Crowns Make Everything Easier
Do your replacement teeth involve dental crowns? You’ll be able to get your crowns in a single day, thanks to our CEREC system. We design and create your crowns right in our office instead of working with an outside lab. This makes the whole process quicker and more convenient – and usually more affordable too, since you won’t need temporary crowns.
For more information on any of our replacement teeth options or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Larry Folden or Dr. Bradley Westbrook, call 903-625-9297.