like. Missing one back tooth won’t hamper appearance, but it can make chewing more complicated. And while missing a front tooth creates an obvious gap, it wouldn’t necessarily make eating food any harder.
With all of the aspects to replacing a single missing tooth, it’s important to pick the right restoration. Implants are recommended for any amount of tooth loss, though some patients may see implants as over-treatment. If you’re debating between implants and other restorations to complete your smile, consider the following:
Compare Available Options
What’s most important to your treatment plan: lasting results, budget, or appearance? Each of these can put an emphasis on one replacement option over another. If you’re looking for the longest-lasting prosthetics available, fixed dental bridges and implant-supported crowns are likely your best bet. Implants look most like natural teeth, but bridges can be made with all tooth-colored materials and appear seamless as well.
Partial dentures are typically the most economical choice, but often won’t provide the same benefits for function, longevity, and aesthetics. For patients who simply want the most affordable solution, this will likely be the recommended route.
Weigh Long-Term Benefits and Risks
Dental implants and bridges are some of the most dependable and longest-lasting prosthetics available for replacing a single tooth. However, dental bridges require diligent cleaning around and under the prosthetic to protect against decay. Placement of a bridge requires capping teeth surrounding the gap; making, these otherwise healthy teeth can be prone to damage. Improperly seals on a crown can allow bacteria to seep underneath and affect the remaining enamel. Proper placement of the bridge and a thorough at-home care routine limit these risks.
Partials do not affect neighboring healthy teeth to this degree. They can therefore limit the amount of care needed to protect surrounding teeth. However, partials with a metal frame that hook around nearby teeth can wear down dental enamel over time, causing damage. Partials also do not support bone or soft tissue health. As you age and continue to wear a partial, grafts may become necessary.
Dental implants provide the most benefits for overall health and function. Placement of an implant does not require alteration of healthy teeth, does not place surrounding teeth at risk, and actually stimulates prolonged bone health. While placing an implant does require surgery, it is a far simpler process than many patients imagine.
While there are certainly benefits to each type of available restoration, implants tend to offer an all-in-one solution. If you have questions about implants, contact our general dentist and prosthodontist for your consultation.