Losing baby teeth is a rite of passage for the young, but when tooth loss occurs in adults, the dental problem will need to be treated by a professional dentist. When kids loose teeth starting at age six, the process is completely normal and everyone can relax knowing that permanent tooth growth is not far behind. However, in the case of adult tooth-loss, the options for filling the void are dentures, dental bridges or dental implants and knowing the differences amongst the three will allow individuals in need to make an educated choice regarding the dental care selection.
There are a myriad of reasons why an adult may loose a tooth including trauma, poor nutrition, dental neglect, gum disease or bruxism. Leaving the space vacant is not really an option as in adults, the condition can lead to other dental problems such as crooked teeth, bone loss, tooth decay, difficulty finding employment, problems communicating and diminished self esteem. Only a dentist can properly diagnose the cause of the issue and offer solutions for filling the space left behind.
For thousands of years, dentures have been a popular way to recreate a missing tooth. In 2006, Archaeologists have unearthed a male skeleton sporting dentures in Mexico and further research has indicated that the find was around 4500 years old. While those false teeth are the oldest ever to be discovered, they are not the most famous fake choppers. That notoriety must go to the nation's first President, George Washington. His fake teeth were constructed of a mix of gold, human and animal teeth and bone.
Contemporary man can now choose to have their custom-fitted dentures constructed out of plastic or porcelain and will either get partial or complete dentures based on a dentist recommendation. The process involves multiple dental office visits that could include tooth extractions, gum surgery and other restorative dental care based on the initial cause of tooth loss. Only after oral health has been restored, will a dentist make tooth molds and fit the appliances. Denture prices will vary based on the experience of the dentist and it is not unusually for a complete set of the teeth to cost as much as a family sedan.
Dental bridges are another option for filling the space where a tooth once was. The devices can also go by the moniker of partial dentures and can either be removable or permanent. The three basic types of dental bridges are traditional, cantilever and a Maryland bonded bridge.
The removable option will consist of replacement teeth connected to a gum-colored plastic base with a metal framework to anchor the fake teeth. Permanent dental bridges are called fixed and are used replace one or more missing teeth by placing dental crowns on each tooth surrounding the vacant space and affixing the replacement directly into the crown. Ultimately the fixed bridge is cemented into position.
Many dentists encourage patients to get dental implants as they are considered to be the next best thing to one's own natural teeth. Once affixed, dental implants are permanent additions to a mouth as they will be anchored directly to the jawbone of a patient. The process can involve multiple stages including restorative dental work to improve dental health, the affixing of a tiny but sturdy titanium stud directly into the jawbone to replicate tooth root structure and then the final attachment of a the permanent dental implant.
The process can take months of oral surgery and healing. Patients with healthy teeth and gums and limited missing teeth are the best candidates for the dentistry. The New York Times has noted that dental implants are the superior tooth replacement methodology as the devices can be more cost effective over time and are easier to clean (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/health/17brod.html).
A professional dental exam is a must for individuals contemplating the replacement of their missing teeth. Only a skilled dentist can properly evaluate the current oral health of a patient, determine the cause for the tooth loss, develop strategies and provide dental treatments to improve dental health as well as lay out all the pros and cons for each and every tooth replacement option. Individuals looking to find a dentist to fix their missing teeth can count on 1-800-DENTIST to provide them with the name and number of a compassionate dentist up to the task of rebuilding a smile.