Missing Teeth? Take Your Choice of Solutions
Most people have one or more missing teeth. But, that doesn’t mean you have to live with that embarrassing space. Today, there are three very good options to give you back your good looks and chewing ability.
• Porcelain-fused-to-metal bridges
• All-Porcelain bridges
• Dental Implants
When a tooth is lost due to decay or gum disease, or just never appeared at all, a fixed dental bridge is a good way to restore the missing tooth. A dental bridge is like a false tooth, and can be used to replace a single missing tooth, or several teeth in a row.
Porcelain fused to gold bridges are popular for restoring missing teeth in both the front and the back of the mouth. They are very strong and esthetically pleasing, but they do have drawbacks. Over time as your gum line changes, you may be able to see the little metal grey line where the porcelain ends and the metal begins. That can look like you constantly have food or something caught in your teeth.
The other type of bridge is an all porcelain bridge. These bridges are the most esthetically pleasing of the three. Porcelain bridges can be made to look almost identical to your natural teeth. And, because there is no metal involved – no grey line! All porcelain bridges used to be somewhat fragile. Today, with advances in porcelain, the all porcelain bridge has become a very good choice for replacing a missing tooth.
Finally, best of all are dental implants. Rather than using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your dentist surgically places in the jawbone. Composed of titanium metal that “fuses” with the jawbone, dental implants never decay like the teeth anchoring fixed bridges might. Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, your jawbone assumes that a real tooth is in there. That usually stops the bone loss that can happen with a bridge.
If you are missing several teeth in your mouth, you may still enjoy the confidence and lifestyle benefits that come with dental implants. Depending upon the number of teeth that are missing, your dentist may attach several new teeth to two or three dental implants in a bridge/implants combo. This technique can even be used to securely anchor complete dentures. The implants will serve as a stable support that tightly locks into your replacement bridge or dentures to prevent slipping and bone loss.
With an overall success rate of about 95% and almost 50 years of clinical research to back them up, dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth.