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Don’t Put Off Replacing Your Missing Tooth!

Are you embarrassed by one or more missing teeth? Is it difficult to speak or eat properly? Are you worried that your missing teeth can lead to bigger dental issues down the road? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans suffer from missing teeth, whether from accidents, gum disease, failed root canals and/or tooth decay. Among adults aged 35-44, 69% have lost at least one permanent tooth, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. There are a variety of methods to replace your missing teeth, and you may be a candidate for any or all of them, depending on your particular circumstances.

First, it’s important to note WHY you should replace your missing tooth or teeth. As soon as you lose a permanent tooth, bone loss begins. This process is called resorption and as the bone resorbs, the gum, which covers the bone, recedes, creating a concavity (depression in height and width) that can be unsightly as well as possibly promote food impaction under adjacent teeth. Also, neighboring teeth will drift sideways and opposing teeth will drift downward into the vacant space created by the missing tooth/teeth, causing problems with your bite and affecting your smile.

The Gold Standard: Implants
Fast becoming the missing tooth treatment of choice, dental implants have earned their popularity as the gold standard for a number of reasons:

  • Implants last a lifetime.
  • Implants are strong, stable, and permanent.
  • Implants act like real teeth in every way.
  • Implants fuse to your bone to actually strengthen it.
  • Implants protect the surrounding healthy natural teeth.

A titanium implant is placed into the bone and given time to fuse. Then, the implant is covered with a permanent crown. There are really no downsides to dental implants except that they are more expensive. But, their longevity and their dental health benefits make them quite cost-effective when compared to bridges and dentures, which often need to be replaced.

Fixed Bridges
Teeth can also be replaced with a fixed bridge if there are teeth in the area that are adequate in number and sufficiently healthy and strong to support the artificial teeth.

  • Fixed bridges can sometimes affect the healthy teeth on either side of the bridge, causing the necessity of a new bridge.
  • Long-term, fixed bridges between natural teeth have an average life expectancy of 10-12 years before requiring replacement, but some bridges can last longer.

Maryland Bridges
The “Maryland” bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth.

  • The Maryland bridge consists of one false tooth which has been bonded to a set of ‘wings’ on either side.
  • It is possible to replace two missing teeth by the use of a Maryland bonded bridge when the two missing teeth are side by side.
  • It is not possible to replace more than two teeth with a Maryland bridge.

Cantilever Bridges
The cantilever bridge is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span.

  • A typical cantilever bridge consists of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space.
  • The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extend into the missing tooth space or end.

Removable Dentures
Removable partial or full dentures can replace a single missing tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth in your upper and/or lower jaw. Removable dentures can sometimes have embarrassing downsides.

  • Dentures can slip.
  • Dentures can make clicking sounds when you speak.
  • Dentures can limit your enjoyment of certain foods.
  • Dentures also contribute to bone loss in the area where the tooth or teeth are missing.

Your dentist at The Schiff Dental Group will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your missing teeth and your particular situation. Don’t wait to replace your missing teeth. Call for an appointment at The Schiff Dental Group today!