Losing a tooth is an exciting rite-of-passage when you are young, but as an adult it is a cause for concern. It is also common: most adults will lose teeth to decay, gum disease or injury. Losing teeth not only affects your smile but also impacts your bite and your jawbone. Fortunately, there are options! Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we can address tooth loss with a dental implant or with bridges. We aim to make every process as comfortable and safe as possible, and we will help you to determine which choice is right for you. Here is some more general information about these two options.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends implants as the standard replacement for missing teeth. Implants look and feel like natural teeth and are designed to last a lifetime. However, you do need a healthy jawbone and soft tissue to be a candidate for dental implants.
If an implant is right for you, the first step is to place a titanium implant in your jaw. The implant replaces your tooth root and will naturally fuse to your jawbone over the course of several weeks. Once that is firmly in place, a titanium post will be added to serve as an anchor for a crown.
A bridge is a good option for replacing a few teeth. It involves fusing artificial teeth to a metal frame. The frame is then cemented to supports, which are either implants or healthy teeth covered with crowns. There are limits, however, to how many teeth a bridge can replace. Generally, a bridge is a less-invasive procedure but does not last as long as an implant. The average life of a bridge is 10 years.
There is also an exciting third option on the horizon! Researchers have found a way to grow teeth from dental tissue stem cells. We will delve in to this possibility in our next blog post…stay tuned!
As always, the best way to prevent tooth loss is to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. However, tooth loss happens. If you have lost a tooth or have concerns about your teeth, please give us a call at 207.781.5900. We are happy to discuss your options as we truly believe that having healthy teeth is an integral part of comprehensive health care.
*Image courtesy of www.health.harvard.edu