The average American between the ages of 20 and 64 has three or more decayed or missing teeth. Today we are going to talk about options for replacing missing teeth. So why do missing teeth matter? For one thing, a space between your teeth may affect how you speak or eat. Even if it’s not noticeable while talking, a missing back tooth can affect how you chew. The big teeth in the back are meant for heavy chewing. When you lose back teeth you’re forced to chew on front teeth. Front teeth are not built for heavy chewing and all that extra work may cause them to break down. When you are missing teeth the remaining teeth may shift and in some cases bone loss can occur around a missing tooth. Here is a picture of a missing tooth:
The most economical way to replace missing teeth is with a partial denture. A partial denture is completely removable. It consists of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases. Metal clasps connect the partial denture to adjacent teeth. This way the partial denture will snap in place for retention and support.
A bridge is another great option for replacing missing teeth. A fixed bridge replaces a missing tooth by connecting to adjacent teeth. Multiple teeth are attached to make one large restoration. It is basically a crown on each supporting teeth with a false tooth connected in the middle.
Implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth. An implant is a titanium anchor that is incorporated into your jaw bone, much like a natural tooth root. An esthetic crown can then be attached to the implant to replace the missing tooth or teeth. A single tooth implant gives a more natural appearance when replacing a missing tooth. The implant also helps to maintain bone height and is very hygienic.
There you have it, the most common methods for replacing missing teeth. There are obviously pro’s and con’s to these options, and they don’t have to cost your first born child! We recommend talking to your dentist about missing teeth and the options for replacement specific to your situation. Our dental office in Knoxville offers complimentary consultations if you want to come in and discuss which option is best for you.