Single Tooth Replacement
Cosmetic dentistry techniques for single tooth replacement have come a long way in the last few decades and your east Brunswick dentist is up to date on them. Dentistry of this nature is complicated by the different configuration of each person’s teeth, mouth, bone structure and health. However, there are a number of options to choose from, from only slightly invasive to highly invasive but permanent, that can be used to do a single tooth replacement.
A dental bridge is a classic, and relatively inexpensive method of single tooth replacement. Dental bridges are made up of teeth “dummies”, known as a pontic, which are formed with crowns on either end, made custom to fit each patient’s teeth. Pontics are the part that is made to fill the actual gap. The crowns are necessary because anchors, known as “abutments” are needed to keep the bridge in place, and these anchors are living teeth that are shaped to accommodate the crowns. This arrangement is engineered to hold everything firmly in place. This method is one of the least expensive ways to replace a missing tooth, or a few missing teeth because it is minimally invasive in comparison to other methods. This method is also the fastest method for replacing a gap, as a temporary bridge can be cemented in place while final adjustments are made. This allows a patient to have a quick solution to the loss of a tooth.
The most permanent, natural, and functional method of single tooth replacement is known as dental implants. Dental implants replace the missing tooth with a titanium socket that is implanted into the bone, anchoring it permanently in place. This is done surgically and requires healing time. After that healing period is over, a tooth is made of porcelain to match the patient’s teeth, and shaped to fit perfectly into the gap. This tooth is screwed into the socket. This provides a strong, firmly anchored tooth that looks and functions just like a natural tooth. It is not distinguishable from a patient’s other natural teeth because the socket lies below the gumline. In addition to other advantages, this method helps prevent the gum and bone loss that can occur over time at the site of missing teeth, due to lack of stimulation. It also keeps other teeth from drifting into the gap, causing spacing problems later. The negatives associated with this method of single tooth replacement are primarily cost related. This method may not be appropriate for patients who have problems healing properly because the healing of the socket is necessary.