Different Options for Replacing a Lost Tooth

Loosing your teeth is a horrible experience. This can happen in a variety of ways – an accident or having it extracted by the dentist. However you end up losing one or more teeth, the end result is the same – embarrassment. No one wants to walk around with a toothless smile.

If you shy away from talking to and smiling at people because of your flawed smile, then you have a few options to consider for fixing it. You should speak to your dentist in Birmingham, AL to see which of the alternatives are right for your situation. Having your teeth fixed is essential for cosmetic, as well as health reasons.

Let’s review some of your options for replacing a lost tooth.

Fixed Dental Bridges

This is one of the more popular options for replacing one or more missing teeth. It works by bridging together the gap caused by the missing teeth. The process is a permanent one, using cement to put in place false teeth, known as pontics. These are either made of zirconia, porcelain, alloys or gold. Anchoring crowns, known as abutment teeth, are also used on both sides of the gap. The pontics are placed inside of the gap and the abutment teeth are secured to your other natural teeth that are adjacent to your gap. This helps to hold the bridge firmly in place.

The only way for this to work is to have the natural teeth shaved or filed down, so there’s sufficient space for the crowns to properly bond. The dentist will have to check to see if your other teeth are structurally sound. The one downside about this procedure is that it can’t be reversed. After you’ve had your natural teeth modified, you’re no longer able to use them as regular teeth.

If the missing teeth you have aren’t near one another then you may be interested in other tooth replacement procedures. There’s also the cantilever bridge, which is ideal when it’s not possible to use a crown on both sides of the gap. With this type of bridge, one or more crowns are anchored to it. This is dependent upon the level of support needed and how long the bridge is.

Another alternative is called the Maryland bridge or resin-bonded bridge. In this procedure wings are provided on either side of the pontics that are then bonded to the back of adjacent, using what’s called resin cement. These aren’t like the aforementioned bridges that are very strong and permanent. What this means is you have to be very careful. The removal of the tooth allows for better cleaning and can be reattached. They also don’t require much alteration to anchor to your teeth.

Dental Implants

Another popular option for missing teeth is dental implants. Birmingham dentists recommend this to patients often. In a nutshell, dental implants is an artificial tooth root, also known as a post, that is designed with titanium, which offers support to your crowns after being connected to the jawbone. The implant is then inserted into your jawbone so that it doesn’t move.

The procedure is a short one – it involves fusing the implant with the jawbone. It takes between three and six months for the fusing process to complete. Once done, an abutment is used to attach to the post. It protrudes over your gum line, providing surface space for the dental crown to be either cemented or screwed to.

The upside of using dental implants is that it offers a natural look. Some people use dental implants to improve the shape and color of their teeth. The entire process is straightforward. It’s even considered a routine procedure by many dentists. Compared to other procedures, dental implants are more affordable, costing anywhere between $700 and $1,500 per unit. The risk is also pretty low as well. In the event that the bridge doesn’t work, you can have the pontics and crowds replaced. It is also pretty quick to perform this procedure, which is completed within weeks.

The downside to dental implants is that it can damage your natural teeth since it requires removal of the tooth structure on adjacent teeth. These teeth can no longer perform as regular teeth and will require a crown at all times. There’s also a higher chance of cavities and decay for those damaged teeth. Every five to seven years, dental implants have to be replaced.