That missing tooth has been bothering you for a while now, and you know that the longer you let the gap go unfilled, the more you’re at risk for serious problems. The good news is you have many options and a team of experts to help you navigate them.
Kevin J. Welch, DDS, Srinivas Durshanapelli, DDS, and our team at Tenth Street Dental have helped many folks just like you find the perfect solution to their missing teeth. Here, we walk through a few basic factors to consider when deciding.
Getting to know your options
Bridges, dentures and dental implants are three of the best ways to replace a missing tooth (or teeth), and knowing how they function before choosing one is essential. Here’s a closer look.
Bridges “bridge the gap” created by missing teeth. They involve a false tooth cemented to two crowns we attach to your neighboring teeth.
Dentures are removable prosthetic teeth that attach to your gums. Depending on your needs, you can get partial dentures to replace a few missing teeth or a complete set to replace an entire row of teeth.
Dental implants replace the crown and the root of a missing tooth. We surgically implant a small metal rod that stands in for a tooth root into your jawbone and attach a crown to it. Over time, the metal post fuses with your jawbone and becomes a permanent part of your mouth.
When you need a tooth replaced, we check off the following boxes to guide our recommendations.
Number of missing teeth
If you’re missing several teeth, it may not be practical to undergo dental implant surgery for every one of them. In those cases, we may recommend dentures or bridges, especially if you’re missing 3-4 teeth in a row.
Dental implants are best if you’re missing a single tooth or have one or two missing teeth in different parts of your smile.
Dentures are among the least expensive options for tooth replacement, costing hundreds of dollars compared to thousands in the case of bridges and dentures. Talk to us about your budget, and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Ease and aesthetics
Implants are far and away the most natural-looking tooth replacement. Advancements in dental techniques make it possible for implants to match the look of the rest of your teeth. Since they’re fixed in place, you won’t have to worry about them sliding around, making sounds, or feeling awkward when you speak and chew.
Dentures and bridges also need regular maintenance and can break more easily than an implant.
You’ll be set for many years, no matter which option you choose, but there are a few key differences. Dentures last up to seven years with proper care, and bridges should be replaced after 10 years. Dental implants, while more expensive up front, shouldn’t ever have to be replaced or restored, making them cheaper in the long run.
If you’d like more information about replacing a missing tooth, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Indianapolis, Indiana, office today.