If you’re missing a tooth or about to have a tooth extracted, then you’re probably wondering what your tooth replacement options are. While your options may be limited to your budget and dental health, your choice of tooth replacement may also depend on where in your mouth the tooth is missing. It helps if you understand the different types of tooth replacement available to you which is why we’ve listed 3 of the most popular tooth replacement options to enable you to make an informed decision.
Your dentist is likely to recommend dental implants if you’ve lost a single tooth or a few teeth in various parts of your mouth. They’re the only form of permanent tooth replacement and when cared for properly could last for many years.
How do dental implants work?
A dental surgeon places titanium posts into your jawbone which act as substitute tooth roots. Once placed your mouth is left to heal for several weeks during which time the surrounding bone fuses with the titanium posts to give them stability and strength. Once this fusion has happened, the titanium posts are topped with either a crown, bridge, or dentures to complete the restoration.
Tooth implants act just like natural teeth. Because they’re implanted into the bone, whenever you bite and chew your food, the pressure exerted stimulates the bone, which, in turn, helps to maintain the jawbone and prevent the bone loss which naturally occurs when a tooth is missing.
How much do dental implants cost?
Dental implants don’t come cheap, ranging from $2000 to $7000, but because of their potential longevity they offer great value for money. That said, implant prices vary according to the brand, the expertise of your dentist, the complexity of your case, and even the location of your dentist. So, it pays to do your homework.
Benefits of dental implants
- Implants look and function just like natural teeth
- An implant feels stable
- Implants can last for many years, even decades
- Tooth implants are easier to maintain than other tooth replacement options because they’re simply brushed and flossed like your natural teeth
- Implants are a stand-alone tooth replacement solution and do not rely on adjacent teeth for support
- Implants help prevent bone loss and jawbone shrinkage
On the downside implants require oral surgery and a patient needs a good depth of healthy bone to support their implants. In addition, the patient must be in relatively good medical health and have good oral health too. Finally, implant treatment can take between 3 and 6 months to complete.
As its name suggests, a dental bridge literally spans the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Typically, a bridge consists of two crowns which are fitted over the adjacent teeth at either end of the gap (called the abutment teeth) which anchor the pontic or false tooth or teeth which fit in between. These teeth can be made from porcelain, gold, or other alloys. In addition, the bridge can also be anchored by dental implants.
Benefits of tooth supported fixed bridge
- The replacement false tooth looks and feels like a natural tooth
- A replacement tooth prevents adjacent teeth from shifting
- The wearer can brush and floss as normal
Fixed bridges are more expensive than removal dentures and unlike tooth implants they don’t prevent bone loss from occurring. In addition, a patient needs to pay more attention to brushing and flossing. Because the abutment teeth must be ground down to make room for dental crowns, they can be compromised and more susceptible to decay.
Removable Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are another of the tooth replacement options you might want to consider. They consist of a replacement tooth attached to a plastic base which is colour matched to your natural gums. Some patients take a while to get used to them and one of the downsides is that they do have to be removed for cleaning and sleeping.
Benefits of removable partial dentures
- This is a more affordable option than tooth implants or fixed bridges
- Removable dentures are easier to repair than fixed bridges
- This type of tooth replacement is relatively non-invasive and quick to install compared to tooth implants and fixed bridges
On the downside partial dentures can feel unsteady and not as natural as fixed bridges or implants.
Your next step
Naturally it’s upsetting to lose a tooth but equally it’s important to replace it or you risk facing further dental problems in the future. Our dentists at Scott Street Dental can discuss the best tooth replacement options for your dental needs and get your smile back on the straight and narrow.
If you’re missing a tooth, then why not give Scott Street Dental a call today on (02) 9158 6313. We’ll soon get you smiling again!