Non-Implant Missing Tooth Replacement Options
When a missing tooth create a visible gap in your smile, there are several options to correct the problem.
A tooth-supported dental bridge is the most frequently used, non-implant appliance to restore a single missing tooth. This solution requires that the healthy supporting adjacent teeth be reduced in size to accommodate the crowns necessary to support the bridge.
When you and your dentist are reviewing the treatments to restore your smile, your options include three distinct types of dental bridges, partial dentures, and dental implants. Replacing a missing tooth is important to maintain your dental health, and each option will come with benefits and disadvantages. Not every option will work for you based on your jawbone health, your gum health, and the health of the teeth on both sides of the missing tooth. There are bone grafting procedures available to help your mouth accept dental implants, but even then, you may not be a suitable candidate for a dental implant.
Non-Implant Tooth Replacement Options
After a thorough evaluation of your teeth and gums, your dentist will suggest the best treatment to restore your appearance and functionality.
If you do not have enough jawbone density to properly secure a dental implant to replace your missing tooth, there are a few non-implant replacement options to still fill the vacant space. Depending on the location of the missing tooth is in your mouth, you might want to consider all the options available before you commit to one. Ask your dentist questions about each restoration option so you understand the option as it progresses towards a healthier mouth and smile. Non-implant missing tooth replacement options include:
- A Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridge- The tooth-supported fixed bridge is the most common non-implant appliance used to restore a missing tooth. The placement requires that the natural and healthy supporting adjacent teeth be ground down to accept crowns to support the bridge. The jawbone beneath a tooth-supported bridge may atrophy over time, which might alter the appearance of your face. Like all non-implant devices, it will require proper care, and it will not last as long as an implant-supported bridge.
There are three types of non-implant supported dental bridges, the traditional, cantilever, and Maryland.
- Removable Partial Dentures- Your dentist can create an affordable partial denture to replace one or more missing teeth. One advantage of the removable appliance is that it will not require damaging any healthy teeth. However, it will not look as natural or function as well as an implant-supported restoration. A removable partial denture can interfere with your ability to eat and speak normally.
- Resin-Bonded Bridges- Your front teeth are not subjected to the same biting and chewing pressures as are your back teeth, so when they are missing, a resin-bonded bridge can be a viable option. Sometimes also called a Maryland bridge, this appliance attaches to the adjacent teeth with wings. A Maryland bridge will look and function better than a partial denture, but it is not as strong as a fixed bridge, and it will not last as long as an implant.
- Removable Complete Dentures- Your dentist can also create an economical set of full dentures to replace missing teeth. You may find full dentures uncomfortable, and they have been known to slide, click, and interfere with your ability to enjoy meals.