Single Tooth Replacement Options: How to Know Which Choice is Right for You
As dental professionals, we love saving teeth, and strive to do so whenever possible. Unfortunately, there are simply some circumstances that require a tooth extraction, due to extensive dental decay, deep fractures, or gum disease. In these instances, it is important to understand your many options for replacing the tooth. At Platinum Dental Care in Toronto, ON, our doctors provide several teeth replacement solutions. Today, we will discuss a few of these, so you can be well-informed should you ever face this decision.
The type of treatment necessary will depend on several factors, including your long-term goals, your budget, and your medical history, among other things. Because each patient has their own unique set of needs, treatment can vary for every individual. During a consultation, our doctors will help you determine a solution that will work for you. There are several solutions for replacing one or more teeth. However, for the purpose of this post, we will be discussing single tooth replacement options.
One of the quickest methods for single-tooth replacement is a dental bridge. Crafted from a solid piece of high-quality dental material, such as ceramic porcelain, a bridge consists of two dental crowns on either side, with an artificial tooth in between. In order for a dental bridge to replace the gap left in your smile, the adjacent teeth will need to be slightly reduced. This is performed so they can serve as anchors for your new restoration.
Because today’s dental materials are so advanced, a bridge is virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. In most cases, a final bridge can be placed within one to two weeks after a tooth extraction. Special interproximal brushes and floss threaders will be necessary to adequately clean underneath the bridge. With proper care, a dental bridge can last 15 years or even longer.
Widely considered to be the gold standard for teeth replacement, dental implants offer a long-lasting solution. In contrast to a dental bridge, an implant replaces the natural root of the tooth, rather than simply the crown. Because a dental implant stimulates the nerves in your jawbone, it actually preserves bone, preventing atrophy over time.
A significant advantage of dental implants is that the adjacent teeth do not have to be reduced. Therefore, not only are you preserving your jaw structure, you are also leaving your healthy teeth intact for optimal oral health.
A dental implant is placed during an oral surgery procedure. After placement, the implant must have time to integrate, a process in which it fuses to the jawbone for stability. Osseointegration can take anywhere from two to six months on average, although healing times can vary for each patient. Once the implant has healed, a final crown can be attached. Implants can be brushed and flossed just like natural teeth, and can last a lifetime with proper care.
What if I Choose to Do Nothing?
Many patients want to know what happens if they choose not to replace the tooth.
If the missing tooth is in the very back of your mouth, your dentist will talk with you about your options. In some circumstances, second molar implants are elective, and third molars are virtually never replaced. However, most of your chewing function occurs from your first molar, forward. Therefore, if your missing tooth will affect your bite or your chewing function, replacement is always recommended.
Aside from affecting your function, a missing tooth can actually cause other teeth to shift over time. If this occurs, you may be dealing with even bigger problems which require more extensive dental treatments.
Contact Platinum Dental Care Today
If you are missing a tooth and are interested in pursuing replacement options, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists in Toronto.