Have a missing tooth? The extra space it creates can lead to embarrassment, changes in your diet or facial profile, not to mention shifting in other teeth next to it. Fortunately, you have several choices for replacing missing teeth and rebuilding your smile.
Our dentist in downtown San Diego can use various restorative methods for restoring your smile. In most cases, the most common and best dental options for missing teeth include one of the following:
Years ago, if you were to ask what are the options for tooth replacement, a dental bridge would have probably been the first choice. Bridges are multi-tooth restorations that are supported by natural teeth or dental implants. Traditional tooth-supported bridges can fill in 1-2 teeth at a time, but not anything more than that. Whereas implant-supported bridges (where each end is set on top of an implant) can fill in up to 3-4 teeth in a row.
The downside to traditional bridges is that they require reshaping the teeth that are supporting them. But if those teeth are already in need of protective crowns, bridges serve a dual purpose.
Need a fast, temporary tooth replacement? A flipper is an acrylic device similar to a retainer with an artificial tooth attached to it. These devices are great if you’re planning on a long-term tooth replacement like a bridge or implant, but need something to tide you over in the meantime. Especially if you have concerns about maintaining proper spacing for an implant later on.
Flippers also work for children or teens who have a missing front tooth and might not be old enough for a more permanent solution because their mouths are still developing. Since they’re temporary and removable, they don’t tend to hold up to heavy biting or chewing; they usually need to be removed while you eat.
A partial denture replaces all of your missing teeth at one time. The prosthesis wraps around the healthy teeth you still have, preventing additional tooth removal. Then, the artificial teeth are set onto the frame to fill in all of the open spaces. If you lose any additional teeth, it may be possible to add to the partial.
It’s worth noting that a partial denture can sometimes weaken the natural teeth that help hold it in place. Since the clasps wrap around and rub those teeth, there may be enamel damage, gum irritation, or eventual loosening of those teeth over time.
The absolute best treatment for missing teeth is modern dental implants. Today’s implant designs mirror the anatomy, feel, and function of natural teeth. So regardless of how many are missing, you can elect to have dental implants installed to make your smile whole again.
How do dentists replace missing teeth with implants? Since the implant essentially functions as an artificial tooth root, it’s set into the bone and allowed to integrate with your jaw. In a matter of months, the implant is capable of supporting more weight than a natural tooth. At that point, we place a fixed restoration on top of the implant abutment to fill in your smile.
Some of the most common types of dental implant treatments include:
- Single tooth implants with a matching porcelain crown
- Pairs of implants to support a multi-tooth porcelain dental bridge
- Fixed All-on-4 or All-on-6 hybrid implant designs (to replace all of the teeth at one time)
- Implant-supported removable overdentures
Since dental implants can last for a lifetime, they offer one of the best returns on investment when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Our San Diego dentist recommends dental implants in most cases, because of their functional and minimalistic design.
Best Dental Options for Missing Teeth
Our dentist in downtown San Diego offers comprehensive tooth replacement options for adults of all ages. We’ll help you select the best treatment for missing teeth as it relates to your circumstances and priorities.
Reserve a consultation with us today to learn more. Flexible payment options are available! Call Fifth Avenue Dental Arts to get started.