In the United States alone, about 178 million people have one or more missing teeth. Of these individuals, over a fifth, or 40 million, no longer have natural teeth.
If you’re one of those people, you’d be happy to know there are many dental procedures for missing teeth. Some are temporary, while others can last for decades.
Below is a brief description of your top teeth replacement options, so read on.
A flipper tooth, or flipper for short, is a removable partial denture made of acrylic. Its base fits snugly on the roof of the mouth or the lower jaw. One or more prosthetic teeth then jut from the pink, gum-like frame.
Once you place the flipper in your mouth, the prosthetic teeth fill the empty spaces. As a result, it gives the appearance of a full smile.
Flippers are usually temporary, but depending on their quality, they can last up to a year. Have a look here for more information on the process of getting one.
Traditional dentures are much like flippers, except they last longer. They also come in two primary types: partial and complete.
A partial denture is a prosthetic designed to replace a missing tooth or a few lost ones on the same arch. For example, if one or more missing teeth are on your lower jaw, you can get a partial denture.
A complete denture can replace missing teeth on both arches. You can also get this if you’ve lost all your pearly whites.
Dental bridges are non-removable teeth replacement options comprised of one or more crowns. Dental crowns, in turn, are cap-like covers that go over natural teeth. When used in dental bridges, they act as supporting posts for the fake teeth between them.
You may be a good candidate for a dental bridge if you’re missing one or more teeth in one area. So long as you still have natural teeth on both ends of the spaces, you can get them bridged.
Dental implants are the best way to fix missing teeth due to their permanence. They are permanent because they involve surgical implantation of replacement tooth roots. These artificial roots usually get implanted into or above the jawbone.
As your jawbone heals, it fuses with the implants. This process is what you call “osseointegration.”
After that, your dentist attaches an extension post, called an abutment, to the implant. This post is where the dentist screws your artificial tooth in place.
Dental implants themselves can last for a lifetime. However, the artificial teeth attached to them may need replacement after 15 to 20 years.
Time to Replace Your Missing Teeth
Flippers, dentures, bridges, and implants are common ways to replace missing teeth. If you’re on a tight budget, you can pick flippers or dentures, as these cost the least. But if you have the cash, consider getting a dental bridge, or better yet, go for implants.
Regardless of your choice, please have your lost teeth replaced ASAP. The sooner you do, the sooner you can eat better and smile to your heart’s content.
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