Having missing teeth can affect your appearance. However, depending on the location of the missing teeth in your mouth, they can also affect your ability to properly chew your feed or speak clearly. Missing teeth that are lost from trauma or decay can be replaced by dental appliances that restore the look and functionality of the missing teeth. Here are a few dental options available if you have lost a few teeth:
Dentures are made of acrylic or porcelain prosthetic teeth that are connected to a plate or frame. The dentures can be easily removed for cleaning or to allow the denture wearer to sleep comfortably.
If a denture is a partial denture, meaning that it is only used to replace one or more missing teeth but not a full palate, it can be connected to bordering natural teeth with metal clasps.
Although dentures can appear relatively normal, some wearers may experience problems with a bit of movement when they eat or speak. This movement can sometimes be corrected by opting to use a dental adhesive.
Unlike dentures, which only replace the crown of a tooth, dental implants replace the crown and root of a missing tooth. The implants are actually metal screws, which are often made of a nonreactive metal such as titanium.
An implant screw is surgically inserted into the bone of your jaw for stabilization. A period of two to four months is needed for the jawbone to heal at the site of the implant.
Once the implant is healed an abutment can be added, and a dental crown can be placed.
A typical dental bridge is made of two dental crowns with a fake tooth in the middle. The crowns are placed over natural teeth or dental implants to hold the bridge in place.
In some cases, there are only teeth available on one side of a bridge to stabilize it. In these instances, the dentist can insert a dental implant as the structural base for one side of the bridge. However, he or she may also use a cantilever bridge, which is designed with a supportive crown on only one side. This type of bridge may be most effective when only a single tooth is missing.
If you have lost one or more teeth, there are several replacement options available. Contact a dentist in your area to see which one is right for you.