What are the most common methods of tooth replacement? There are a number of options available — dental implants, bridges, dentures, even full mouth reconstruction.
What you should absolutely not do is to just ignore it. Not replacing a missing tooth can have devastating effects on the rest of your mouth. You can risk displacing neighboring teeth, suffer bone loss, or even suffer a facial structure collapse. Missing teeth can impact how you look, how well you’re able to eat, and can seriously alter the appearance of your smile. That’s why it’s so important to work with a dentist or oral surgeon to replace a missing tooth.
There are generally 3 methods to replace a tooth:
The right tooth replacement choice for you depends on your budget and insurance considerations, as well as health needs and preferences.
Removable Partial Dentures
As the name implies, dentures are removed at night and for cleaning. Partial dentures will include replacement teeth attached to a plastic base that matches the color of your gums. It usually contains a clasp to attach to your teeth.
Dentures take some time getting used to. It may take several weeks before they feel completely comfortable. Overtime, the bones of your jaw may adjust, causing your dentures to not fit as properly. You’ll need to regularly have your dentures inspected by a dentist. You’ll also need to care for them properly.
You can replace a tooth or set of teeth with a fixed bridge that fills the space where one or more teeth have been lost. The bridge is cemented or bonded in place — it can only be removed by your dentist or oral surgeon. Sometimes a maxillofacial surgeon will attach the bridge with a dental implant.
We typically place bridges over several appointments.
By far, the best choice for tooth replacement is a dental implant. They are a permanent solution to missing teeth. Dental implants can be used to replace one tooth or to do a full mouth reconstruction if necessary. The implant is surgically drilled into your jaw bone to become just as functional as your natural tooth. Dental implants are the ideal way to replace a tooth — but also the most expensive. You’ll have a completely functional tooth that does not have to be removed and is attached to your jaw, just like a natural tooth.
Dr. Puckett also offers Zirconia implants — the only fully ceramic system on the market. These dental implants are highly versatile and look beautiful.
Let’s Discuss Your Options
Nobody likes to lose a tooth. And certainly financial considerations will guide your plan to replace it. That’s why we like to present your options openly. Dr. Puckett is an oral surgeon who prioritizes the care of his patients with open and honest conversations about their oral care and budget needs.
What is your budget? What will insurance cover? What kind of payment plans are available?
Our patients appreciate us being up front and honest with them. We don’t like to be pushy. This is a sensitive issue — one you’ll have to live with for a long time. We’ll discuss your options and develop a sequencing plan for all the dental implants you’ll need. We’ll share this copy with you and give you some time to think about it. As a maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Puckett believes in empowering our patients so they can make their own decisions when it comes to what’s best for their oral care.