No matter how old you are, the genetic and environmental factors that impact your teeth can start to show themselves at any point in time. If you have a family history of soft teeth or you’ve damaged teeth due to an accident, you may be looking into getting dentures, bridges, or implants already, even if you’re just in your thirties or forties. The truth is that there are many options you can explore when your teeth aren’t strong enough, or if they had to be removed. Keep reading to learn more about your options for how to replace a missing tooth (or teeth).
When do you know you need to take action?
Everyone has different teeth and different environmental factors that impact them. So, not everyone will need a full set of permanent dentures, for example. A dental bridge can fill a gap created by one or more missing teeth, as can a placed implant. Consider all of your options before you rush into a procedure. Partial dentures can improve your appearance and they can improve your oral health by keeping your remaining teeth in their correct place. If you opt for a dental bridge, your dentist will fit customized crowns to the teeth on either side of the gap that needs to be filled (or bridged). A false tooth called a pontic is attached to the crowns and replaces your missing tooth.
Depending on your needs, you can choose partial dentures that are removable, or bridges which are permanently cemented into place. There are three main types of bridges that can cover a variety of dental restoration situations:
Traditional: This style requires placing crowns on the teeth that border the missing tooth.
Cantilever: This style is used if you only have teeth on one side of the missing tooth.
Maryland bonded: This type of bridge consists of a porcelain tooth in a metal frame, with wings so it can be attached to existing teeth nearby.
All of this is very nice, but did you know that some of the above treatments may only last from five to fifteen years? That means that you’ll have to go back in to replace old work, and that may not be something you want to do. Getting an implant placed may be a better option for you. Implants can help retain the health of surrounding teeth, and can help ensure the health of your gums and jaw bone.