Many people believe it is not necessary to replace a single missing tooth, especially if it is not visible when they smile. Doing nothing is actually detrimental to the oral health of the patient leading to bone loss, teeth shifting, and difficulty cleaning surrounding teeth. Common causes of tooth loss are severe tooth decay and gum disease as well as trauma or injury.
If you have a missing or damaged tooth that will require extraction, Claremont Dental Institute located in Claremont CA offers a number of treatment options that can replace it. Choosing the right treatment can be an overwhelming decision. Dr. Vijay Patel will review each option with you to help you make the right decision.
We often encourage our patients to replace their missing tooth with a dental implant-supported dental crown because it is the only option that functions like a natural tooth. Below, we have laid out a comparison of the available treatment options to help you make an informed decision about which solution is best for you.
Dental Implant-Supported Crown
A dental implant is actually a screw-like metal post that is surgically implanted into the jaw bone. It will support a dental crown and also replaces the missing tooth root. One of the main reasons this is the best option is because the implant will stimulate the bone (just how the tooth root did) and prevent bone loss.
Once we place the titanium post, it will need about three to six months to completely fuse with the surrounding bone. The next step is to attach a small piece called an abutment. This will only require an additional few weeks of healing then the dentist will attach the dental crown.
This solution will feel and function like a natural tooth allowing you to eat, brush your teeth and smile comfortably. Caring for an implant-supported crown is no different than caring for your natural teeth. A natural tooth is best but when an extraction is necessary, a dental implant-supported crown is the next best option.
The downside to choosing an implant to replace the missing tooth is the amount of time it takes to complete the process and the total cost. Traditional methods to replace your tooth will cost a fraction of what an implant costs. The process to get a single dental implant can take up to seven months or more if pre-treatments are necessary.
Other Tooth Replacement Options
The traditional methods of replacing one missing tooth are with a dental bridge or a removable partial denture. A bridge is a fixed dental restoration that we make using two dental crowns on both ends. We attach the replacement tooth in between them. To accommodate a dental bridge, the two adjacent teeth will need to be ground down.
You are essentially damaging two healthy teeth to replace the one missing tooth. This will also put a lot of pressure on the two adjacent teeth possibly even damaging them. But a dental bridge will cost significantly less than an implant-supported dental crown and can be placed in as little as two to three weeks.
A removable partial denture can also replace a single tooth by using metal clasps that will hold the replacement tooth in place. These metal clasps, however, may be noticeable while smiling. A partial denture is also not very durable.
It can slip around in your mouth and may even fall out while speaking or eating. You will have to remove it nightly to thoroughly clean it in addition to your regular oral care routine. While this option will cost the least, it cannot act as a natural tooth as a dental implant can.
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