Tooth loss can occur for several reasons, including facial trauma, decay, and gum disease. Having a gap in the mouth (whether it is one tooth or several teeth) can negatively affect the function and look of your smile.
Because of this, it is important to consider your tooth replacement options if you have lost one or more teeth. Fortunately, you have several options for tooth replacement in San Diego.
What Is Tooth Replacement?
There was a time when a missing tooth could only be replaced using a denture — a removable, artificial tooth that was held in place using adhesive. While dentures certainly serve a purpose and are the most affordable tooth replacement option, they are no longer the creme-de-la-creme of tooth replacement options.
Now, patients can choose between dental bridges, implant-supported dentures, and dental implants.
What Do These Options Have in Common?
All tooth replacement options include the addition of a prosthetic tooth (often made of porcelain or composite materials) that fills in the gap in the mouth. These artificial teeth are designed to match your existing teeth for a natural-looking smile and added functionality.
With these options, you can chew, speak, and smile with confidence.
What Are My Tooth Replacement Options?
If you are looking for single or multiple tooth replacements, you have options. Some of the most common include:
- Dental bridges: Dental bridges replace one or more adjacent teeth. (Dental bridges can correct up to four teeth; however, they are most commonly used to replace one or two). To be a candidate for a dental bridge, you must have healthy teeth on both sides of the gap that can support the bridge. During this procedure, the teeth on either side of the gap are filed down to support a crown. These crowns are connected to a pontic (an artificial tooth that will fill the gap). The entire piece is then inserted into the mouth and cemented to the adjacent teeth.
- Implant-supported dentures: Implant-supported dentures offer a more permanent solution than traditional dentures in that they are secured to the mouth by dental implants instead of adhesive. This works well for patients who are not interested in traditional dentures and do not want to hassle with the adhesive process. These dentures are a definite step-up from your grandfather’s dentures!
- Dental implants: Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement. A dental implant is a titanium post that is inserted into and fused to the jawbone. This creates a secure root for the artificial tooth to be connected. Dental implants look and feel just like your natural teeth. Additionally, they are cared for in the same way as your natural teeth.
Which Option Is Right for Me?
The right tooth replacement option will depend on your needs, budget, and jawbone health. You need to have a healthy jawbone in order to be a candidate for an implant (since the bone needs to hold the implant).
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