A very small percentage of the population will make it through their life with all of their teeth. On average, by age 50, Americans will have lost about 12 teeth to gum disease, decay, or injury. Losing teeth affects your smile and may also weaken your jawbone and change your bite.
Thanks to the major advances in prosthetic dentistry, there is no reason to allow lost teeth to affect your health. The empty spaces can be filled with bridges or implants, and many times they are more attractive and functional than the teeth that were lost. Dentistry is a part of your overall health and it is crucial not to allow it to fall by the wayside.
Bridges are made from artificial teeth combined to a metal frame. Bridges are a great option for those needing to replace more than one tooth. The metal frame is attached to crowns of the surrounding teeth or implants.
Getting bridges installed is a shorter process than implants, but still requires multiple dental visits. Visits may include imaging and impressions, preparing the surrounding teeth for the crowns, and fitting the bridge. To learn more about bridges and the procedure, click here.
When there is only one tooth that needs to be replaced, implants are usually the best option. An implant consists of a screw to replace the tooth root in your jaw and a temporary cap. Once the dentist is positive the implant is firmly in place, the cap will be replaced with a post and a crown to match your original teeth. This procedure calls for careful assessment by your dentist to assess the amount of bone where the implant will be placed.
CT scans of your teeth may be taken to check out the bone available for the implant. Sometimes a jawbone may not support an implant. In this case, your dentist may augment the jawbone with a bone-like material before placing an implant. Dr. Dean Salo performs implants along with other procedures, which you can view here.
TALK TO YOUR DENTIST
Your dentist will be able to advise you on what option is best for you and your overall health. They will consider your teeth, gums, and jawbone. Make sure to let your dentist know of any health conditions you may have. Conditions like diabetes can affect the healing process.