Tooth-Replacement Solutions: Which One is Right for You?
Missing one or more teeth?
You’re not alone.
It’s estimated that 178 million Americans…Opens in a new window to an ACP talking points brochure that states this statistic… are missing at least one tooth and about 40 million Americans are missing ALL of their teeth.
If you’re missing teeth, you’re likely well aware of the negative consequences it provides to your appearance, health, and quality of life.
Missing teeth make it difficult to eat, speak, and smile confidently.
It leads to severe bone loss, compromising the integrity of your jawbone.
In addition to the health concerns, bone deterioration creates a “sunken-in” look, making you appear older.
Here’s the good news:
There are several excellent tooth-replacement options to restore your smile to its full health and beauty.
- Bridges (Fixed or resin-retained)
- Dentures (partial or full)
- Dental implants
Let’s explore each of these options so you can consider what’s right for you.
Top 3 tooth replacement options
1 – Bridges
A dental bridge fills the empty space from your missing tooth.
In a fixed bridge, it is cemented or bonded permanently in place using the two adjacent teeth as an anchor, creating a “bridge” effect.
A resin-retained bridge works similarly to a fixed bridge, but uses a slightly less durable (and usually cheaper) composite resin cement.
Placing a dental bridge usually takes several visits to complete.
Advantages of fixed bridges:
- Look, feel, and function just like your natural tooth
- Usually cost less than implants
- No need to remove to clean
- Permanent solution
Disadvantages of fixed bridges:
- Can negatively affect or require altering of the surrounding teeth that support the bridge
- Can be difficult to clean under the bridge
- Don’t protect the underlying bone from degradation
2 – Dentures
Dentures are a removable set of teeth, usually reserved for when a person is missing many teeth.
Dentures can be partial or complete. Partial dentures replace only a section of missing teeth, whereas complete dentures completely replace all your teeth.
They usually have a fixed plastic base that matches the color of your gums, and supports several artificial teeth. They attach in place via a clasping mechanism.
Advantages of dentures:
- Usually less expensive than bridges or implants
- Easier to repair than bridges
Disadvantages of dentures:
- Can be less stable and permanent than bridges or implants. Some people find them to be annoyingly “slippery” in their mouths.
- If the fit is poor, can be uncomfortable
- Embarrassment from falling out or removing them
- May need frequent replacement and repair
- Don’t preserve the underlying jawbone structure
3 – Dental implants
We’ve saved our favorite for last.
When it comes to tooth-replacement solutions, nothing beats the durability, longevity, and natural feel of dental implants.
A dental implant is surgically installed into your jawbone, completely restoring your missing tooth from root to crown.
With dental implants, you’ll likely forget you ever lost a tooth!
The best part about dental implants is it replaces the root of your missing tooth, allowing for your jawbone to get the healthy stimulation it needs.
Other tooth replacement options don’t replace the root. Even though the crown is restored, you’ll still likely experience bone loss.
With dental implants, your jawbone health and structure are preserved, preventing the many health consequences and “sunken” appearance that is so common with tooth loss.
Dental implants can also support dentures, for patients who need many teeth restored.
Advantages of dental implants:
- Most durable, long-lasting, and permanent of all tooth replacement solutions
- Completely natural look and feel
- No special cleaning required
- Preserve the underlying jawbone
- Nearby teeth are not negatively affected or altered
Disadvantages of dental implants:
- Typically the most costly solution
- Require surgery, which may not be right for everyone
- May take longer and require more initial visits than bridges or dentures
- Not everyone is an appropriate candidate for dental implants
Which of these tooth-replacement options is right for you?
Come in for a consultation to find out!
Dr. Deborah Joyner is an expert at restoring smiles with top-quality tooth-replacement solutions, especially dental implants.
Ready to get your healthy, beautiful smile back? Come in to see us!
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We proudly serve Cedar Rapids, IA, and surrounding communities in Marion, Hiawatha, Robins, Springville, Anamosa, Central City, and Center Point.