Although natural tooth loss tends to increase with age for some individuals, anyone can lose a tooth at any time due to illness or injury. If you lose one or more teeth and want to improve your dental health and facial appearance, here are affordable options to consider.
Depending on the position of your remaining teeth, you may be a candidate for orthodontic work. Braces can move the teeth you now have into the gap of the missing teeth for a more natural look. Assuming there’s only one missing tooth, you might need just upper or lower braces to address the open spaces left by the missing teeth. If you have multiple missing teeth, you may need both upper and lower braces to fix the gap.
Closing the gap left by a missing tooth can take anywhere from six months to a year, or longer. However, by the end, you’ll be left with a beautiful smile that lasts. Ask your dentist for a referral to an orthodontist for a consultation about your treatment options.
A partial denture plate or bridge may be adequate for filling the space left by the missing tooth. This can be fitted to your upper or lower teeth, or both if needed. An impression will be taken of the section of teeth where a denture will be fitted.
When the denture is made, it will be adjusted as needed for secure and comfortable wear in conjunction with the other teeth in the upper or lower ridge of the mouth. They’ll also match the coloring of the denture to the surrounding teeth so that it looks as natural as possible.
People who have lost several or most teeth may benefit from a full set of dentures. This device contains removable upper and lower teeth that completely replace your original, now-missing teeth.
The full set of dentures are made similar to the partial kind by taking impressions of the patient’s mouth to get an accurate guide for making the dentures. When ready, they will be tried by the patient to see how they fit, and adjustments can be made if needed.
The average dentures last about six or seven years before they need to be replaced. If necessary, though, they can be fixed or replaced sooner.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is made by surgical implantation of a metal stud in the patient’s jaw bone. After healing, an artificial tooth that matches the surrounding teeth and fits the gap will be screwed into the stud as a permanent fixture. Implants are not removable; they are permanent.
On average, they have been known to be used for fifteen to twenty-five years or more before a replacement may be needed. Unlike dentures that need to be removed and cared for or braces that require special care, you can treat a dental implant like a regular tooth.
Your choice of tooth replacement will be based in part on your lifestyle preferences and longevity concerns. Talk to your dentist about these options and request a referral to a specialist who can provide details about the replacement option of greatest interest.
By Anita Ginsburg
who is a freelance writer and residing in Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. She recommends looking into dental implants or other solutions to fill the gap left by a missing tooth.
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