Most people, once they get older and grow into their final, permanent set of teeth, will keep the majority of those teeth for the rest of their lives. However, there is no guarantee that you’ll keep all your teeth, even for someone who is brushing, flossing, and regularly seeing a dentist, you may still need to know about tooth replacement options. Some non-oral health conditions can impact the mouth, such as people with diabetes who are more likely to have gum infections that can affect the teeth. Athletes can get into accidents that knock out teeth. Even a fall or other incident in everyday life can cause enough physical impact that teeth can be damaged or need to be removed.
When this happens, what are your tooth replacement options?
Tooth Replacement Options: Partial Replacement
Damage to teeth occurs at different scales. In some cases, a good portion of the original tooth will remain, and it is only a chip, crack, or small piece of the tooth that is missing, while the part anchored into the gum remains healthy.
In these cases, only partial repair or restoration may be required. Veneers, for example, are simply a thin layer of porcelain-like materials that are attached to the front of your tooth and can smooth or even out chipped, cracked or uneven teeth for a straighter, more uniform smile. Crowns, or dental caps, are fitted over your existing tooth and act as a replacement for the entire top of a tooth, while still leaving the bottom intact.
Tooth Replacement Options: Total Replacement
In other instances, teeth may be gone entirely. Or for reasons of infection or decay, your tooth may need to be removed. These situations will require total tooth replacement options. If one or two teeth are missing, one alternative is dental implants. These are complete “replacement teeth” with a titanium “screw” that is inserted into the gums to anchor into the jaw, just as the original teeth did. A crown is then placed on the screw to complete the replacement.
If many teeth are missing, then dentures are another solution. This is an older method, also referred to as “false teeth,” where a set of synthetic teeth and gums sit directly on your natural gums. Depending on the number of healthy teeth you have remaining, you can get full dentures, which are a complete set of teeth for your upper or lower jaw, or you can get partial dentures that will only replace the affected areas.
Tooth Replacement Options: Which Option is Right for Me?
One important consideration to keep in mind is that implanted teeth are inserted directly into the gums and jaw and they will help retain the original shape of the face. Bone actually grows around the screws, further anchoring them, in addition to preserving the jaw line.
When teeth are absent, the body redirects bone growth away from the jaw, since the nutrients are no longer required to keep teeth healthy, so you may experience further degeneration. So tooth replacement options that don’t use implants run the risk of accelerating or doing nothing to stop “premature aging.” The shape of the face will change and become more withdrawn, leading to an overall appearance of being old. Dentures also require some dietary changes because many hard foods, like nuts, for example, are much more uncomfortable to eat. Dental implants have no such dietary restrictions since they essentially complete tooth replacement options.
Whatever the condition of your mouth or the state of your teeth, you should know that you have options to restore your oral function and appearance.
Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers tooth replacement options for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implants, sleep apnea, TMJ / TMD Treatment, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.