So, you’ve lost a tooth. Maybe that pick-up game of basketball got a bit rough, the root canal treatment you had years ago let you down, or you ignored gum disease or a cavity a little too long. Perhaps you are one of the 35 percent of people with hypodontia – a congenitally missing tooth. It’s time to talk with Dr. Sameet Koppikar at Biltmore Dental Center in Phoenix about your options for tooth replacement.
Humans are wonderfully adaptive creatures, so you can probably learn to overcome the lisp or chewing difficulty resulting from your missing tooth. Doing nothing to replace the tooth is NOT a good idea though, because your body continues to adapt to the gap in other ways. Your remaining teeth eventually shift out of position. Crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean, so they increase risk of gum disease and decay. Bite alignment changes, sometimes triggering tooth wear, TMJ, or headaches.
The appearance of your smile is important, also – to how you are perceived by others and how you feel about yourself. Wouldn’t you rather have a straight smile without gaps?
A bridge is an artificial tooth (called a pontic) anchored in place by crowns on the adjoining teeth. It’s sound, traditional dentistry, but it does require reducing two otherwise healthy teeth to hold the crowns. Overtime, a bridge places stress on those teeth, increasing risk of wear or fracture. A little extra care is required to brush and floss with a bridge, and the typical lifespan is about ten years.
A denture is a removable prosthetic that holds a replacement tooth in place. It improves appearance and, if worn regularly, helps to keep other teeth from shifting. A partial denture is easy to keep clean, but it “floats,” so it isn’t as stable as a fixed restoration.
Today the best option for replacement of a missing tooth is a dental implant. An implant is a tiny screw made of a strong biocompatible material to mimic the root of a tooth. It is placed into the jawbone in a brief surgical procedure. Bone fuses with the implant, forming a solid foundation for a porcelain crown.
A dental implants looks, feels, and functions so much like a natural tooth that patients often forget which tooth is the replacement! With normal good oral hygiene, a dental implant is a lifetime restoration, in most cases.
Dr. Koppikar understands that every smile, patient, schedule, and budget is unique. That’s why he offers options for tooth replacement, including dental implants. Call Biltmore Dental today at (602) 954-8200 to learn more.