Pros & Cons of Different Tooth Replacement Options

September 13, 2021 Jeffrey T. Baker, DDS PC

People can lose teeth for a number of reasons. Maybe it was a wisdom tooth that doesn’t need to be replaced or maybe it was a decayed tooth that was extracted. When you lose a tooth, if it isn’t replaced within a certain timeframe, your body will start leeching away the nutrients and minerals from that spot in your jaw to use elsewhere in your body.

Missing teeth open more surface area on the adjacent teeth for sugar and bacteria to decay those teeth. People are also more likely to get gum disease in areas where they didn’t replace a tooth. You may feel less confident due to an incomplete smile, an inability to speak correctly, and have more difficulty eating and digesting food. This is why it’s important to replace missing teeth.

If you need to replace that tooth or teeth, there are multiple tooth replacement options available at the practice of Dr. Jeffrey T Baker. Our experienced dentists can talk with you to figure out which of our tooth replacement options is best for you depending on your oral health and how many teeth you need to replace.

Older couple sits next to each other looking at laptopDental Implants

A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root (typically made of titanium) used to anchor a crown. This option has a lot of benefits.

Pros

Dental implants prevent bone loss by fusing with your jawbone through a process known as osseointegration which can take up to 6 months to fully complete. Your body recognizes the titanium tooth root and therefore doesn’t take away the minerals and nutrients from your jawbone.

Unlike dentures, dental implants don’t slip or move around so you can have peace of mind that you won’t feel the need to adjust them during a conversation. They also have an advantage over dental bridges because they don’t cause you to lose any enamel on the surrounding teeth as dental bridges require.

Dental implants can last anywhere from about 20 years to the rest of your life depending on the quality of care you give them, your bone density, and the condition of your oral health. They look and function exactly like a normal tooth, plus they require no unique maintenance, simply brush twice daily and floss once daily.   

Cons

Dental implants tend to be more expensive than other tooth replacement options. However, you may not qualify for dental implants if you don’t have good enough oral health or bone density. Also, the crown of the implant may need to be repaired if you experience facial trauma or excessive decay. 

Dentures

Simply put, dentures are a prosthetic replacement for missing teeth. They fit over your gums and can be removed to clean them and then take care of your gums. Dentures need to be kept moist at all times, otherwise, they will dry out, crack, and warp.

Pros

While all tooth replacements help you eat and speak better, dentures are great to replace multiple missing teeth. For example, they could fill in an entire arch of missing teeth or just a few consecutive ones.

One of the most common complaints about dentures is they can slip and move around in your mouth. However, this isn’t the case with fixed hybrid dentures which Dr. Jeffrey T Baker is proud to offer. Unlike regular and implant-supported dentures, these can only be removed by a dentist. 

Cons

It is not a major inconvenience, but dentures need to be removed to be cleaned with a denture cleaner instead of brushing them like you can with dental implants and bridges. Dentures need to be kept moist at all times, otherwise, they will dry out, crack, and warp.

Dentures don’t prevent bone loss unless they’re supported by dental implants (as fixed hybrid dentures are). If they’re not, over the course of 10 to 20 years this will lead to facial collapse, deterioration of the jawbone. This can make someone appear older and make their face look more wrinkled.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are a single prosthetic tooth that is anchored in place by two crowns on both of the immediately adjacent teeth.

Pros

Dental bridges are more economical than dental implants. Unlike dentures, they’re good for single tooth replacement. Dental bridges don’t fix misaligned teeth, but because they fill in the gap, they will prevent your teeth from leaning into what was formerly the empty space caused by your missing tooth.

Cons

Some enamel will have to be removed off the two adjacent teeth to fit the crown that holds the prosthetic tooth in place. While losing enamel is never good, the teeth will have an extra layer of protection in the crown. Also, dental bridges don’t prevent jawbone loss, only dental implants and certain types of dentures do.

Request an Appointment 

Our restorative dentists can help you determine which tooth replacement option is right for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Baker or Dr. Castile, call our office in Shelby Township, MI at (586) 992-9222. We’d be more than happy to help you find the right treatment option for your smile.

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