If you're considering your options for replacing missing teeth, you may want to know when you should make your decision. In short, as soon as you can. Now, this is not always an option nor available at a moment's notice.
Depending on the route you go, you're going to have to wait to let things heal. So let's go over what your options are, costs, and sadly what happens if you delay the inevitable.
What happens if you wait?
The moment you get your tooth pulled; things are okay. However, the more you talk, chew, and use the teeth around the area, things will start to move. As the other teeth shift, they can cause a change in your bite. These teeth possibly could shift into positions that can make it harder to clean them, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
The position can also cause increased stress on the ones remaining, particularly if you've had one of your back teeth removed. This can cause teeth that are designed for one thing to do another. All that extra work can cause those teeth to weaken, and so the snowball begins. This will leave you wondering what your options for replacing missing teeth are.
Factors to consider
The costs for each of these procedures will vary greatly. While it would be great to have something clear and precise, nothing in the medical field comes with an upfront price tag. With the variables of a timetable, the procedure selected, and the specialist, prices can vary widely.
Some of these options require surgery, and none of us are created equal, so it's going to be different for all of us. One of the big factors is going to be a healing time. If you're going to select something that requires multiple procedures, that means time in-between. Depending on how fast you heal will change your recovery time. Health factors such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease can make this process take even longer.
Types of prosthesis
Implants are versatile. They can be just a single tooth or a whole set. They also can be used in combination with the other options for replacing missing teeth. The implant is solid and secure since the bone grows around it. They also can last quite a while, even decades! The first thing to consider is the fact that this is surgery. If you don't have enough bone, you might even need multiple surgeries. As we talked about before, other factors could impact the healing time, making this option lengthy.
Just like it sounds, you use two teeth on each end to connect the ones in the middle. Picture three teeth: A, B, and C. Tooth B gets pulled, so teeth A and C are used to create the bridge.
Because the bridge is custom-made, this will require teeth A and C to be shaped and fitted with a crown or possibly need an implant. You can have a bridge be something removable or fixed, which comes with some pros and cons. A fixed bridge will utilize something called a Pontic, which is not secured to your jaw.
Sometimes this leads to some interesting techniques and the extra effort needed to clean, as standard tooth care is not an option.
These come in all shapes and sizes, but we're now thinking of multiple teeth. Because you're going to be chewing differently, your jaw will respond to the change in stress, often decreasing the bone present. This will lead to needing the fit of the denture changing over the years. The good news is this is usually less expensive than the other options at the expense of stability. Not only can they be lost or broken, but they even make eating certain foods difficult or impossible.
So, the next time you ask yourself what your options are for replacing missing teeth, talk to your dentist.
Having a plan will help understand the costs and factors associated with each of the options. After that, you'll leave with a sense of relief, knowing that something can be done.
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