Either you've had to have teeth removed or braces have left a gap where a tooth has never grown in. As a result, your smile doesn't look the way you want because teeth are missing. Doing nothing about the missing teeth is rarely the best option. Instead, you can decide between a removable bridge, fixed bridge or implant.
A removable bridge is actually a partial denture. The structure consists of a tooth or teeth with small attachments. These attachments are made of either metal or a flexible material that resembles your gums. They affix to the teeth and gums to anchor the bridge, but you can remove them for cleaning.
There are two types of fixed bridge. The traditional style consists of the tooth or teeth affixed to crowns. The dentist files the adjoining teeth down so the crowns can fit over them. Cement is used to make the prosthetic permanent.
Bridges can also be affixed with a resin bond. With this model, the bridge is attached to metal bands. The dentist doesn't have to file down the teeth but rather uses resin to attach the bridge to the back of the adjacent teeth.
Dental implants require minor surgery performed with local anesthesia. Dentists first numb the area, then they implant a special type of screw that replaces the root of the lost tooth. This implant requires a two- to four-month healing period, called integration. Once the implant has integrated, your dentist makes a crown that resembles a tooth.
Making the Choice
Dental implants are the most costly of the three procedures. They also have that integration time. However, an implant is the most permanent fix. What's more, the tooth typically functions as well as, if not better than, the original. If you are a good candidate for a dental implant, meaning you have enough bone density under the teeth, it's a great option for replacing missing teeth.
Traditional bridges can still be a good option, too. They often cost less up-front than an implant. However, having to file the teeth to affix the bridge can cause bacterial plaque accumulations, and this can lead to problems down the road. If it's a viable option for you, resin bridges might be the better choice if you don't want to get an implant.
Choosing a partial denture over a fixed bridge is often a matter of preference. Removable bridges are easier to clean, and they don't require filing the teeth down. However, they're not as permanent as fixed bridges and dental implants.
Talk to a local dentist like those found at Smile City about your preferences to choose the tooth replacement option that will restore your beautiful smile.