Sometimes, only a single tooth is missing. If a tooth cannot be salvaged by restorative applications, such as root canal therapy, an extraction may be the only option. In addition, a tooth that has been knocked out may not reassimilate into the mouth. If you would like to replace a tooth that you have lost due to gum disease, decay, or dental trauma, your dentist may offer you several different options.
Here are two options that may be available to restore a missing tooth.
Dental Implant-based Restoration
When a single tooth is lost, a dental implant is often prescribed. A dental implant-based single-tooth restoration yields a natural-looking tooth replacement.
A dental implant is installed in the mouth surgically. During the procedure, the dentist drills the implant, which is a screw or rod that is made of titanium, through the gum tissue into the bone of the jaw. As the implant is placed, the patient feels no pain. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area prior to the performance of the procedure.
Once the implant is in place, the tissues around the device heal. A part of this healing process is called osseointegration. During osseointegration, the bone around an implant assimilates or connects to the device. This connection stabilizes the implant, holding it firmly in position.
After the implant wound has healed, the dentist adds an abutment to connect the device to a dental cap or crown. The dental crown replaces the natural crown of the lost tooth to complete the restoration.
A dental bridge is also used to replace a single lost tooth. The bridge connects in the mouth by the attachment of the bridge crowns to the teeth that are adjacent to the gap where the lost tooth once was.
The structure of a traditional bridge includes a false tooth in the center of the appliance and a bridge crown on each end of the device. To prepare the abutment teeth, which border the gap from the lost tooth, for the placement of the bridge crowns, the dentist removes a small amount of tooth material. This removal permits the crowns to fit flush in the mouth without altering the natural bite pattern.
If one or both abutment teeth are missing, dental implants can be used to secure the bridge in position.
To learn about suitable options for replacing your missing teeth, contact the office of a dentist in your local area to schedule an appointment.