(319) 377-1300

Your Options for Replacing Missing Teeth

options for replacing missing teeth
Posted on: March 4th, 2024 by | No Comments

If you’re missing a tooth, you have two options for replacing it and keeping your smile intact. The options for long-term tooth replacement now include not only dentures such as bridges but also tooth implants. What you choose depends on where the tooth was and if you want a faster replacement tooth or a more permanent replacement. Either option will improve your appearance, oral health, and self-esteem. Here at Uptown Dental, we feel it is important to replace missing teeth to benefit your health and your confidence. We’ve outlined your options in this blog post.

Dentures for Missing Teeth

If you feel you need to replace a tooth sooner rather than later, dental bridges and partial dentures can be made to bridge the gap created by a missing tooth. A bridge or other partial denture would fill the hole in your smile with a removable structure that attaches to adjacent, healthy teeth.

While dentures are faster to create, taking a few weeks at most, they are less durable than implants. It may not be as easy to chew or bite into foods with dentures as it is with an implant. In addition, dentures need to be cleaned every day, and they can break over time. However, it is less invasive, faster, and more cost-effective than the tooth implantation process. Bridges and other dentures can take just a couple of visits and a few weeks to create your improved smile. Plus, dentures are more likely to be covered by dental insurance.

Dentures Timeline: 2-3 weeks

Pros: Noninvasive and cost effective

Cons: Daily maintenance and possible strain on healthy teeth

Tooth Implants

Today’s dental implants are quite the technical marvel. In this process, an oral surgeon surgically implants a permanent metal root into the jawline. After the implantation heals, a prosthetic tooth attaches to the metal root. The result is very durable. It doesn’t require removal to clean—you can brush and floss an implant normally. It also can help support better chewing function and jaw health and does not put healthy teeth at risk.

However, tooth implantation requires surgery and several weeks of healing time. The metal root implantation can take up to four months to heal before the dentist can attach a crown. There are greater risks to surgical implantation as opposed to a denture, which is noninvasive. People who cannot tolerate dental surgery would not be good candidates for a dental implant. Those who can endure the process will be rewarded with a long-lasting metal implant and crown.

Implant Timeline: 6 weeks to 4 months

Pros: Long-lasting and normal dental care

Cons: Surgery required and lengthy healing time

Preventing Tooth Loss

Accidents happen and teeth get broken, but remember that good dental hygiene can help prevent tooth loss. In addition, your dental care providers may be able to save a tooth with a root canal. The reality is that root canals provide relief from nerve pain immediately and permanently. It is a lot like getting a cavity filled, and filling the root of a tooth is much simpler and faster than implantation.

If you’re interested in tooth replacement options, please let us know. You will also want to reach out to your dental insurance company so you know what tooth replacement services are covered. The dentists here at Uptown Dental would be happy to help you better understand dental bridges, dentures, and tooth implantation. Schedule your appointment today.

For more about the difference between dental bridges and implants, read this article from the Cleveland Clinic.