Dental Grants Program
3 Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Missing teeth affect more than just the appearance of your smile. Missing teeth can lead to impaired bite function and make it difficult for you to enjoy your favourite foods. In addition, missing teeth can allow for bone and gum resorption. Your teeth help to support the structure of your lips and cheeks. If you are missing multiple teeth, it can lead to sagging skin, a receded jawline, and an overall older-looking appearance.
There are multiple options for replacing missing teeth. The best option for you depends on your specific needs, overall dental health, number of missing teeth, lifestyle, and budget.
Here are three options for replacing your missing teeth:
1. Dental Implants
Dentists recommend dental implants as the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. Implants function in the same manner as your natural teeth by supporting the jawbone. They are visually indistinguishable from your teeth and are built to last a lifetime. An implant can last up to 40 years!
Implants help to preserve the bone and gums. When the implant is placed, your body will naturally start to strengthen the bone in the surrounding area through a process called osseointegration, thus preserving the jaw structure. The implant screw acts as the missing roots of the tooth. The crown that goes on top of the implant looks nearly identical to a real tooth. The completed structure blends seamlessly with your smile.
The process of getting dental implants can take several months with multiple dental visits to allow time for healing. And while implants are the most permanent solution for replacing missing teeth, they are also often the most expensive option.
A dental implant can last up to 40 years.
2. Fixed Dental Bridge
A dental bridge can be used to replace one or more teeth when the missing teeth are adjacent. Dental bridges have two components: the pontic (false tooth) and the abutments (supporting teeth). The pontic is a false tooth that is held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Although pontics can be made from a variety of materials such as gold, typically they’re made from porcelain to aesthetically blend in with your natural teeth.
A traditional dental bridge can be used to fill a gap in your smile as long as you have natural teeth on both sides.
The dentist will prepare the abutment teeth by removing a portion of the enamel and recontouring the teeth to allow room for a crown to be placed on top. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made. At a second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. The bridge is cemented into place to restore your smile.
Dental bridges are fixed (non-removable) prosthetics and they require more maintenance than implants. If you develop a deep cavity, infection, or periodontal (gum) disease in either supporting tooth, then you may lose the entire bridge.
Lastly, dental bridges may need to be replaced every 5 to 15 years, depending on proper care, while implants are considered a permanent solution.
If you develop a deep cavity, infection, or gum disease in either supporting tooth, you may lose the entire dental bridge.
3. Removable Partial or Full Dentures
Dentures are a removable option for replacing one tooth, a few teeth, or a complete arch of teeth. Partial dentures can replace one or more teeth in your mouth (even when they are not in the same area). Full dentures replace a complete arch of teeth. No matter which kind of denture you get, they will be custom fitted to your mouth and esthetically matched to your existing smile. Dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-coloured plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth.
Dentures have many benefits such as improving the appearance of your smile, improving speech, and rebuilding the bite (occlusion). Dentures are often the most affordable option for replacing missing teeth. However, they typically only last about five to eight years and will need replacement. Dentures get worn out with regular use and can become ill-fitting over time as your gums change shape. Additionally, dentures must be removed and cleaned daily and you cannot wear them to bed. The constant handling can make dentures more susceptible to damage.
Dentures are often the most affordable option for replacing missing teeth
There you have it, three options for replacing your missing teeth. Dental Grants provide up to 30% towards your dental treatment including dental implants, bridges, and dentures. Apply for your Grant today.