Don’t miss out because of missing teeth! Around the age of 6, as a natural part of growing, we start to lose our baby teeth to make space for “permanent teeth.” These teeth grow in and are expected to last the rest of our lives. Occasionally, new teeth don’t form; get knocked out; or need to be removed because of dental problems. Empty spaces in our mouth aren’t good. They can make it uncomfortable to smile (affecting our self-esteem), make it difficult to eat (impacting our health), and change the bite by causing teeth to shift. These spaces can cause tooth decay, bone loss and TMJ pain. Left untreated, it can be devastating.
There are three primary ways to fix the spaces from missing teeth:
An artificial “root” (made of titanium) is surgically implanted in the jaw, and then covered with a crown. This is an optimal solution because it’s like having natural teeth. Implants are intended to be permanent, look natural and are practically undetectable in appearance. They are more comfortable than removable dental appliances and make chewing easy. Furthermore, they reduce the need to do restorative work on the adjacent teeth.
The replacement tooth (false tooth) is placed between two existing teeth. This permanent bridge is attached to two crowns covering adjacent teeth. The advantage to a fixed bridge is that it feels like natural teeth, is fixed and stable; and looks like there was never a tooth missing. The downside is that in addition to replacing the missing tooth, you have to prepare healthy teeth for the crowns to hold the bridge in place.
Removable appliance --- Dentures
This is the least expensive option for replacing a tooth. Dentures range from a dental flipper (piece of plastic with a false tooth attached) to a sturdier acrylic or metal partial denture that is removable. This is the most affordable and can be used to replace multiple teeth. The disadvantage is that it may not be as aesthetically pleasing as a fixed bridge or implant because of the clasps used to attach it, and it may not be as comfortable or as stable. Luckily, there are several ways to close the gap when missing teeth. So smile, chew comfortably, and don’t put off replacing your teeth. Dr. Orlansky’s office is located at 26300 Euclid Avenue, Suite 926, Euclid, Ohio. For more information, call 216-797-1401 or visit www.acaringfamilydentist.net.
Dr. Herb Orlansky