Intro to Dental Implants Dental Implants 101 Single Missing Tooth Are Dental Implants right for me?
What are My Options for a Single Missing Tooth Replacement?
If you are missing a single tooth, there are a few different replacement options for you to choose from. Common single tooth replacement treatments include removable partial dentures, a fixed partial denture (bridge), and dental implants.
Removable Partial Dentures
Removable partial dentures contain a set of replacement teeth that sit on a base of plastic and are held together by a metal support structure and attached to the gum line with metal clasps. While the partial dentures serve their purpose, many patients find this single tooth replacement option to be physically cumbersome as well as aesthetically unappealing.
Fixed Partial Denture or Three Unit Bridge
Sometimes referred to as a bridge, a fixed partial denture holds the replacement tooth between the other teeth. With a bridge, the tooth is secured to the abutments with an adhesive that holds the device in place.
While dentists still use bridges to replace missing teeth, they are no longer the preferred treatment option due to the complications that often accompany them. Bridges have been known to cause decay in patients’ healthy teeth in addition to expediting jaw bone deterioration. Because of these problems, most dentists now recommend implants over bridges.
Dental Implants for Single Missing Tooth Replacement
When it comes to replacing just one tooth, dental implants are now the preferred choice. Because the titanium implant integrates into the existing bone and tissue through a process called osseointegration, the resulting bond is exceptionally strong. This additional security enables the implant to function like a natural tooth. The implant supports the surrounding bone and tissue, preserving the health of remaining teeth, gum, and bone. Implants offer a more permanent solution, although the crown of an implant may need to be replaced after extended use.