Options for Replacing Missing Teeth: Can It Improve Your Oral Health?

Options for Replacing Missing Teeth: Can It Improve Your Oral Health? from Modern Smiles Family Dentistry in Phoenix, AZThere are many options for replacing missing teeth, but how can replacing missing teeth help your oral health? Replacing missing teeth is the best way to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and jawbone deterioration. Options for replacing missing teeth are dental implants, dentures, or dental bridges. Choosing which option will work best for you depends on your specific needs and the space available in your mouth. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Dental implants

Implants are the most permanent option but are also more expensive and require surgery to place them in your jawbone. They are often the most effective options for replacing missing teeth, but they require a larger commitment from you. The pros of dental implants are that they:

  • Restore your natural smile.
  • Replace missing teeth/teeth that don’t function properly.
  • Keep gum tissue healthy and strong.
  • Prevent future problems.

Implant options help you keep your jawbone strong because they fuse to the bone. They also restore the strength of your teeth by using a titanium post (the part that goes in your mouth) that can be screwed into the implant. The bone and gums around them can eventually grow onto the posts, fusing them more permanently into position.

Dentures

Dentures are lower in cost and can be placed right away, but they must be frequently removed, cleaned, and reinserted into your mouth to avoid gum-related problems. In comparison to implants, dentures are less expensive, easier to replace, and can be placed in your mouth right away. The pros of dentures are that they:

  • Rehabilitate oral health and prevent bone deterioration.
  • No tooth decay, bacteria, or bad breath.
  • Offer a natural-looking smile.

However, they also come with a few disadvantages that you should consider before making your decision. Dentures cannot fuse directly to your jawbone as implants can. They are held in place by their fit alone. This means that if the denture is not properly cleaned and maintained, it is likely that the gums and jawbone will grow into them. This can lead to gum disease and loss of supporting bone in your mouth.

Dental bridges

A bridge is another option that fills in the gap of a missing tooth or teeth, though you will need to have one good neighboring tooth or teeth for the bridge to be supported.

Bridges are the more natural-looking options than dentures because they usually use neighboring teeth as anchors. The pros of bridges are that they:

  • Replace missing teeth and fill in gaps for a complete smile.
  • Look more natural than dentures or dental implants.
  • Are removable if you want them to be.

The bridge unit fits over and attaches to the anchor tooth (or teeth) on each side, which then allows the replacement tooth or teeth to fit into place. Because of this, bridges require you to have a good neighboring tooth on either side of the gap to help support the bridge. A dental bridge does have a few things going for it that other options don't, though. Bridges are usually made using real teeth, so they look more natural than dentures, for example.

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