Most patients are aware of the need to replace missing teeth but few fully understand the difference between their options. With so many different solutions, it’s easy to get confused.
What are my options to replace missing teeth?
Your specific options will depend on a variety of factors, including the condition of neighboring teeth, gum tissue, and bone tissue. At my office, I will perform a comprehensive exam to learn which option is best suited to your circumstances. In general, patients can choose from crown and bridgework, removable partials or dentures, and dental implants.
Let’s review each option:
Crown and bridgework – Also called a fixed bridge, crown and bridgework relies on healthy, neighboring teeth to support a replacement tooth. This is a popular option for patients who want a fixed restoration. While crown and bridgework does provide a natural-looking solution, it does not address the issue of bone loss that results from missing teeth. Gradually, the bone tissue deteriorates, increasing the risk of additional loss. Studies show that patients with crown and bridgework are likely to lose 10% of remaining teeth in the next 4 to 8 years.
Removable partials or dentures – Removable partials and dentures contain artificial teeth on a gum-colored, acrylic base. Partials are anchored to remaining teeth with clasps or brackets. Dentures rest on the gum tissue and can be secured with denture adhesives. Removable dentures often prove uncomfortable and cause difficulty eating and chewing. They also contribute to soft- and hard-tissue deterioration. Studies show that patients who wear removable partials are likely to lose 30% of remaining teeth in the next 4 to 8 years.
Dental implants – Dental implants consist of a small, titanium screw inserted in to the jaw bone. The screw replaces the tooth root, thereby preventing the bone loss that accompanies missing teeth. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement that exists independently of healthy teeth. This makes them an ideal long-term solution that does not increase the occurrence of future tooth loss. Dental implants have maintained a 98% success rate over the past 25 years.
Dr. Fitzgerald is a cosmetic and implant dentist serving Plano and Dallas. Call 469-914-8304 to schedule a consultation and learn if dental implants are right for you.