What are the options for single tooth replacement? The more traditional fix is a permanent dental bridge which is anchored to the still existing natural teeth on either side. One of the downsides to this type of replacement method is that the supporting teeth which are known as “abutment teeth” must be ground down to accommodate the false tooth.
A close alternative to the permanent bridge is the remove able partial denture which eliminates the need to involve the existing, still healthy teeth. But a partial bridge may feel awkward to the wearer making it difficult to go about his daily routine. Some patients are so uncomfortable with their bridge that they prefer to just do without it.
A third approach is the “Maryland bridge” which was brought into light at the University of Maryland, hence its name. It bonds to the abutment teeth with no need for modifications but has proven to be less stable than a permanently attached denture. It does however, function better than a removable partial.
The most modern technique for replacing teeth that have been lost to decay or injury is the dental implant. Instead of the need for support from surrounding teeth an implant is actually inserted into the jawbone and takes hold just like the root of a natural tooth. Once the implant has assimilated a crown is installed on top, completing the restoration.
The underlying bone structure provides the foundation for our teeth. If a tooth is lost the structure will weaken resulting in its’ eventual deterioration which in turn can affect the frame of the face and alter the patient’s appearance.
The time frame for achieving a dental implant will depend on the particular technique that you and your dentist decide to opt for. Part of that decision will depend on the condition of your bone structure. If grafting may be necessary to strengthen the bone the process will be more lengthy. On the other hand, some patients may be able to receive a complete implant in one day. Every case is different.
Discuss your options for tooth replacement with Dr. Conway of Spokane Valley Dentistry. Call in Spokane Valley @ 509-926-6261.