Few decisions are as important as how you to decide to replace missing teeth. After all, your replacement teeth will affect how your smile looks, feels, and functions.
At North Oaks Dental, we understand it’s a big decision. We’re happy to give you as much information as we can so that you make the right choice. Call 248-220-7021 to talk to Dr. Alvin Daboul or one of our Royal Oak, MI dentists. They’re happy to answer all your questions!
In the meantime, here’s some information that can help you evaluate your teeth replacement options.
Your Four Options for Replacing Teeth
You have four options for replacing teeth:
- Don’t do anything
- Use a dental bridge
- Use dentures
- Use dental implants
Each option offers pros and cons. (Well, not doing anything offers no benefits. It’s a pretty bad idea, as we’ll discuss in more detail below.) Your decision will be based on a number of factors. Among them: How many teeth are missing, the condition of your remaining teeth and jawbone, your lifestyle, and your budget.
Don’t Do Anything
Not replacing a tooth isn’t a good idea. Depending on where the tooth is located, it will affect how your smile looks. And it will certainly affect how it functions. While you may be able to get by without a tooth or even several teeth, you may need to eat softer foods than usual. This can be bad for you, since crunchy raw vegetables and fruit are among the healthiest foods you can eat.
In addition, your remaining teeth will shift in your mouth, which can adversely impact your bite. And the bone near your missing teeth will shrink. Over time, this gives you that “sunken-in” look that makes your face look older.
Use a Dental Bridge
To place a dental bridge, we usually put dental crowns on the adjacent teeth. We attach a false tooth or teeth (called pontics) to the crowns. Pontics are essentially crowns without teeth underneath them.
Among their advantages:
- Unlike dentures, they don’t need to be removed for cleaning
- They offer better chewing ability than dentures
- They are more similar in size and shape to your natural teeth than dentures
One of the biggest downsides is that we must modify your healthy teeth to attach crowns to them. Also, like dentures, you’ll experience bone loss in the areas where you lost teeth. And we can’t use bridges to replace all of your teeth.
Dentures are one of the oldest teeth replacement options. You can replace multiple missing teeth with partial dentures, or you can get full dentures to replace an entire mouthful of teeth. They are generally among the most affordable solutions. But compared to dental implants or dental bridges, there are disadvantages to using dentures.
They can affect how you speak and how you eat. They also require special care to keep clean. And they generally need to be relined or replaced every five years or so, due to the change in fit that occurs as your bone shrinks.
- Dentures affect how you experience the taste and texture of food
- It’s often tough to eat certain things, like sticky or hard foods
- Food can get trapped under them, which is uncomfortable and can make you more susceptible to problems like tooth decay and gum disease
- They can move and shift while eating
You can now get dentures attached to dental implants. This makes dentures a much healthier option by helping to keep your jaw strong. It also stabilizes your dentures, so you’ll have a stronger bite and not have to worry about movement while you eat.
Use Dental Implants
Dental implants are embedded in your jaw. Because of this, they stimulate the bone a lot like your natural tooth roots do. This helps keep your jaw strong, which is one of the biggest benefits of implants. Implants can replace anywhere from a single tooth to a whole mouthful of teeth, depending on the dental restoration we use with them. They can be used with a dental crown, a dental bridge, or dentures.
Other benefits include:
- They don’t require any special care.
- With proper care, they should last a lifetime.
- You can eat whatever you’d like, thanks to the strong bite you get with implants
- They don’t require adhesive to stay in place
Probably the biggest downside to dental implants is expense. They cost more than bridges or dentures. However, they should last longer than either of those restorations.
It’s important to work with dentists who have experience using different restorations and who will take the time to prepare you for your restorative treatment, no matter which one you choose. We pride ourselves on doing that for our patients at North Oaks Dental! Dr. Daboul has even written a book for patients titled Getting Ready for Implant Surgery.
If you’d like to talk to Dr. Daboul or one of our other dentists about tooth replacement options, call 248-220-7021.