There are a lot of ways to lose a tooth.
If you neglect your oral hygiene long enough, you’ll get a cavity.
Ignore that cavity, and it grows and allows bacteria to get past the enamel and infect the root of the tooth.
Usually, a root canal can save the tooth, but sometimes the damage is so severe that the tooth has to be extracted.
Or maybe the loss of your tooth was less surgical and more accidental.
Maybe you took a well-intentioned elbow to the jaw during a pick-up basketball game, or you were mountain biking and you pumped your front wheel brake too hard going down a hill and flipped over the handlebars landing face first in the dirt.
Regardless of how you lost your tooth, you should be happy to know that tooth replacement technology has advanced at an incredible rate over the past few years.
Let’s go over all the tooth replacement options now available so you can know which one is the best fit for you.
The tried and true method for covering up a missing tooth is to use dentures, which are removable sets of prosthetic teeth.
The primary advantage of dentures is that they are most likely your cheapest option.
There are also disadvantages: dentures can make it hard to chew or speak, and there is the potential embarrassment of them falling out.
A fixed bridge offers some benefits overdentures.
It is a crown for the missing tooth that is held in place by caps on the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth.
Since the bridge is locked in, it doesn’t slide around or fall out as dentures do.
If you are looking to not only replace a tooth but also cap one or both teeth adjacent to the missing tooth for unrelated damage, then a bridge is going to be your most effective solution.
The most technically advanced option is a dental implant.
These are screw-like posts buried through the gums and into your jawbone to replace the root of a missing tooth.
A smaller post attaches the implant to a crown that restores the look and feel of the tooth that was once missing.
There’s nothing that replaces a tooth better than a dental implant. Dentures and bridges fix the appearance of a missing tooth, but they do nothing about the missing root under the surface.
That root was supporting a piece of jawbone.
Without that support, the bone weakens and eventually deteriorates.
This results in an unfortunate sunken-jaw look and can lead to nasty infections down the road.
Dental implants provide a new root, preventing those complications.