Tooth Replacement

Tooth replacement is a great way for people to maintain their beautiful smiles in the face of dental disease, injury or poor dental hygiene. There are many ways to go about getting a replacement, and each one should be carefully considered before a decision is made.

When is a Tooth Replacement Necessary?

A tooth replacement is an option whenever one or more teeth are missing due to injury or poor dental health. This procedure is only available to adults because the jaw must be fully grown before any such procedures can take place. Missing teeth do much more than simply make people feel uncomfortable and hide their smiles; the gaps left behind can create a situation in which neighboring teeth can shift, increasing the likelihood of contracting gum disease. The movement of these teeth can also have an impact on the way people bite down, perhaps even causing a painful condition of the temporomandibular joints known as TMJ.

Who Performs Tooth Replacement?

The individual who performs a tooth replacement procedure will depend on the type of replacement chosen by the patient. As an example, surgical options are often only attempted by oral surgeons, while options such as dentures and bridges may be handled by a dentist. The main difference between the two is that oral surgeons are generally trained in conscious sedation—or anesthesia—while a dentist is typically only able to use mild anesthetics like Novocain injections or nitrous oxide gas. The more invasive the procedure, the greater the likelihood becomes that conscious sedation will be necessary.

Tooth Replacement vs. Fillings

When a patient visits their dentist’s office with concerns about tooth decay, they may anticipate that a tooth can simply be filled. Most of the time, this is the case and patients are able to leave the dentist’s office with their tooth or teeth repaired. However, in extreme cases, a dental filling will not repair the tooth and it must instead be extracted. Once the tooth has been removed, the patient must often wait until the area has healed before a tooth replacement of any type can be fitted. These days, there are a few oral surgeons and dentists who have the capability to fit an implant, dentures or a bridge on the same day that the tooth was extracted.

Types of Tooth Replacement

Tooth replacement procedures can be temporary or permanent, depending upon the patients’ wants and needs as well as their budgets. Temporary replacement is generally only performed for cosmetic reasons and serves to bolster a patient’s self-confidence until a permanent solution can be provided. Permanent replacement consists of multiple types of implants, dentures, bridges and partials that are either fixed or removable. The right type of replacement for each patient depends upon the number of teeth the patient is missing as well as how much they are willing to spend. As an example, removable dentures are much less expensive than a full set of dental implants.

Tooth replacement is an evolving science that keeps getting better and better as the technologies available to dentists and oral surgeons continues to improve. These procedures allow patients to feel good about themselves and show their smiles to everyone they meet.