Losing Teeth? Here are Three Best Alternatives That Won’t Ruin Your Smile

A healthy set of teeth are essential for a great smile and impressive appearance. Losing even a single tooth will ruin that beautiful smile and can become a reason for developing other teeth issues. 

Apart from this, the absence of a tooth can also cause issues in chewing and speaking. There is no doubt about the importance of having all the teeth in your mouth in a perfect condition. 

Our teeth are designed to work together, and they work like a team. Hence, as soon as you lose one team member, replacing the missing tooth is important. 

These include;

  1. Implants
  2. Bridges
  3. Removable Partial Dentures

Let’s get into the details of understanding their structure, utility, benefits, and drawbacks. 

Tooth Replacement Options: 

  • Dental Implants

Implants are fixed surgically to the gums and attached to the jawbones. They are supposed to work like an anchor for the artificial teeth that are screwed to the implants. 

The implants are built with titanium and other materials that are suitable for the human body. As the implants are secured in the bone, they are considered a sturdy and stable replacement option for the missing teeth. 

Advantages:

  • Dental implants are fixed once and last for a lifetime, provided you follow the required caretaking procedure. 
  • Their structure and shape is similar to natural teeth, which gives them authenticity and stability. 
  • There is no need to involve the nearby teeth in affixing the implants. 
  • Jaws without teeth shrink and become shaggy, but implants prevent this from happening to ensure correct jaw shape. 

Drawbacks

  • Dental implants require surgery and multiple visits to dentists. Hence, they are not suitable for everybody.
  • Getting implants is a costlier procedure compared to other options. 
  • As fixing the implants requires invasive surgery, it takes time to heal, which increases the possibility of infection.

Fixed Bridges:

Fixed bridges are bonded or cemented into the hole from which the tooth has gone missing. It’s a fixed procedure, and only a dentist can remove the bridge once it’s installed. 

You will need to visit the dentist multiple times for installing fixed bridges. These are attached to the void by first preparing the teeth on either side of the gap. The bridge is affixed to the teeth on the side.

A crown is used in the shape of a tooth and fixed on either side of the gap. The bridges are made out of metal, ceramics, glass-ceramic or by mixing the materials.

Advantages:

  • Fixed bridges resemble the natural tooth structure, feel, and look.
  • As they are fixed in the right place, you don’t have to remove them for cleaning. Following the dental care routine similar to the one you have for natural teeth will work just fine. 
  • The cost of getting fixed bridges is slightly lower in comparison to implants. 

Drawbacks:

  • The teeth used to fix the fixed bridges in place are affected by the procedure. 
  • The area under the pontic (replacement tooth) is challenging to clean but also necessary. 
  • Food particles and crumbs can easily slip under the replacement tooth. 

Removable Partial Denture:

Removable partial dentures, as the name suggests, can be taken out of the mouth for cleaning. This means that you are not permanently fixed but attached to a plastic base.

The base’s colour matches one of your teeth to bring symmetry into the teeth structure. The base on which the tooth crown or cap is placed is attached to the natural teeth on the sides with a metal clasp. 

Compared to fixed dentures, the removable partial dentures are easy to handle and maintain. After getting them, you may feel a bit odd or a certain amount of tightness in the mouth for a few weeks. 

It may take a few visits to ensure a perfect fit, as the dentist needs to examine the teeth for sore spots or pressure points and correct them with every visit. 

Advantages:

  • A cost-effective option compared to dental implants and fixed dentures.
  • A new tooth can be attached to the base in case the existing one is lost. This further saves the cost of getting a new base or a new implant. 
  • You can ensure effective cleanliness of the area as they can be removed and cleaned separately. 

Drawbacks:

  • Removable partial dentures are not as comfortable as implants or fixed dentures, which reduces their popularity.
  • You need to take the dentures out every day for cleaning and before sleeping. 
  • The metal clasp used to attach the tooth is clearly visible. This means they don’t look like natural teeth. 

Measuring the Impact of Missing Teeth

Losing teeth as a kid meant gaining an opportunity to get a new one from the tooth fairy. But tooth fairies don’t have the same benevolence for adults, which means they need to look for other options than a tooth fairy. 

Losing teeth is not something you will want to end up with because of the six reasons;

  • Bone Loss: Teeth make the support structure for the jaw bone. Without them,  the jaw bone won’t get the required support and become atrophied, just like muscles when they are not used. 

 

  • Teeth Shifting: Even with all the 32 teeth present in your mouth, they can shift due to decay or gum recession. Teeth shifting is accelerated when one or more than one tooth is not present to support each other. The gaps give the teeth space to shift and deform. 

 

  • Irregularities in Bite and Difficulty to Chew: Teeth function together for several reasons, including biting, chewing, speaking, etc. Missing a tooth can exert undue pressure on other teeth, gums, jaw muscles, and joints. Irregularities in the bite can also lead to malocclusion and develop other problems like headaches and muscle pain.

 

  • Difficulty in Speech: Gaps in the teeth can cause problems in speech by making it difficult to pronounce words correctly. 

Conclusion

You can choose from several options to replace the missing teeth, and all of them have their unique set of characteristics, pros, and cons. You must visit a dentist to get help with such issues and receive the required treatment while considering your teeth health and budget.