Having a missing tooth can be embarrassing and even an inconvenience. This is especially so if the gap is visible when you smile. But did you know that even one missing tooth can have a negative impact on your oral health? Without a tooth root, the jaw bone will begin to deteriorate that will eventually affect the way your face is shaped. Also, the surrounding teeth will shift towards the void that will lead to bite issues. The shifting can also make it difficult to clean in that area leading to cavities and poor gum health.
Dr. Melissa Elliott is a Fallston, MD dentist that offers many treatment options to replace a single missing tooth. If you have a missing or damaged tooth, she will take the time to explain each treatment option with you so that you can make an informed decision. In most cases, she will recommend a single dental implant that will be restored with a dental crown. A tooth implant will look, feel and function just like a natural tooth especially when compared to other traditional replacement methods. It is the most effective substitute once a tooth has been lost or pulled.
Dental Implant Supported Crown
A dental implant is a metal screw that will support a dental crown. It is essentially a replacement for the missing tooth’s root structure. The implant is made of titanium which is a metal known to be well accepted by the human body. It is also lightweight yet extremely durable. Attached to the implant post is an abutment, a small connector piece. Then connected to that is the dental crown. All three of these parts makeup the replacement tooth.
A single dental implant will be surgically placed in the jaw bone where the missing root system used to be. Dr. Elliott will work with a local Fallston, MD oral surgeon or periodontist for this part of the process. This will require about three to six months of healing time. Next, the implant will be uncovered and the abutment will be attached. Lastly, the custom made dental crown will be attached and you’ll be left with a replacement tooth that will blend in seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.
What are my other options?
In the past, a single tooth was replaced with a fixed bridge or a removable partial denture. These options will not replace the root structure and the patient’s jaw bone will slowly deteriorate over time. While these options will cost less, neither will be able to act as a natural tooth like a dental implant can. They can also be placed in as little as two to three weeks, much faster than an implant secured dental crown.
A bridge is a fixed dental restoration that is made up of two dental crowns on both ends with the replacement tooth in between them. To accommodate a dental bridge, the two adjacent teeth will need to be grinded down. You are essentially damaging two healthy teeth to replace the one missing tooth. This will also put pressure on the two adjacent teeth.
A removable partial denture can also replace a single tooth by using metal clasps that will hold the replacement tooth in place. These metal clasps, however, may be noticeable while smiling or speaking. A partial denture is also not very durable. It can slip around in your mouth and may even fall out while speaking or eating. You will have to remove it nightly to thoroughly clean it in addition to your regular oral care routine.
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