Should I replace a missing tooth? by Dr. Hunter Dawson DMD, MSD

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Should I replace a missing tooth?  This is a question we get asked frequently by patients that are losing a tooth or currently have a missing tooth.  We always want to educate our patients on all options available to them for treatment of a missing tooth.  

The first question you must answer is “Do I need to replace a missing tooth?” 

Answer: NO

However, there are negative consequences to not replacing a missing tooth such as:

-Compromised Function

-Compromised Speech

-Compromised Appearance

-Adjacent teeth drifting

-Opposing teeth erupting

-Loss of Bone

 

The second question to consider is “Is a dental implant my only option?”

 

Answer: NO

 

There can be multiple options to replacing a missing tooth.  A removable partial denture is one option that has the benefit of restoring function and appearance, but many patients will not elect this option due to the need to remove the prosthesis daily for cleaning and not wearing them at night.  A fixed partial denture, also known as a bridge, is a second option if missing 1 or 2 teeth adjacent to each other. For a Bridge, the adjacent teeth are prepared for receive the bridge.  The missing tooth is replaced using a fake tooth pontic attached to those (See image below). The negative to a bridge is sometimes the adjacent teeth are very healthy and do not need to be prepared due to the missing tooth.  This essentially is creating a 3-tooth problem to replace 1 tooth.

 

The third question to consider is “Does a dental implant meet my treatment goals?”

 

Answer: Maybe

 

 

If you are looking for…

-a Fixed “Permanent” tooth replacement

 

-Improved Appearance

-Improved Speech

-Improved function

-Maintenance of surrounding teeth

-Preservation of Jaw Bone structure

 

…. then a dental implant may be the solution you are most interested in pursuing.

 

Schedule a Consultation with our Specialists today to learn about all of your options.

 

If you enjoyed this information article, make sure to watch for our next article where we will cover the basics of dental implant treatment.