After losing a tooth, it is natural to wonder what your options for replacing missing teeth are. Choosing how to replace teeth may seem more complicated if you need to replace multiple teeth. Luckily, there are several effective options for replacing multiple teeth.
Options for replacing missing teeth include:
- Tooth-supported bridges
- Implant-supported bridges
- Implant dentures
While it is possible to replace multiple missing teeth without a procedure, procedure-based replacement methods are often more secure and better mimic the feel of real teeth. The procedure that will work best for you will depend on factors, including jawbone health and the number of teeth you have remaining. It is important to consult a dentist who can help you learn about the procedures you qualify for.
A dental bridge consists of replacement teeth that are held in place by either surrounding teeth or implants. A tooth-supported bridge is held in place by the teeth on both sides of a gap, also known as “abutment teeth.” To place a tooth-supported bridge, a dentist will cement a crown to both of the abutment teeth. These crowns, in turn, are cemented to the bridge of replacement teeth. A tooth-supported bridge may be a good option for replacing multiple missing teeth if the abutment teeth are still intact and the patient wishes to avoid surgery. Receiving a tooth-supported bridge is also less expensive than other procedures that replace missing teeth.
Instead of using teeth to support the bridge, an implant-supported bridge uses dental implants to secure the bridge of replacement teeth. The replacement teeth between the two implants are held in place by the implanted teeth. Unlike the tooth-supported bridge, the procedure for securing an implant-supported bridge requires multiple visits. During one visit, the dentist inserts the implants. In another visit, the dentist secures the bridge. Still, implant-supported bridges are more stable than tooth-supported bridges.
While bridges can be used to replace multiple teeth at the same time, implant dentures are used to replace an entire set of teeth at one time. Four titanium screws hold the denture in place, making the implant denture more secure than a bridge. However, implant dentures are more expensive than bridges and can only be used to replace an entire row of teeth.
Choosing the right procedure to replace multiple missing teeth
A dentist can help you understand your options for replacing missing teeth. If multiple teeth need to be replaced, a tooth-supported bridge is an economical choice that does not require surgery. An implant-supported bridge requires two implants to be inserted into the jawbone but is more secure than a tooth-supported bridge. Finally, if an entire row of teeth must be replaced, which is sometimes necessary in severe cases of gum disease, implant dentures may be the most suitable option. Talking to a dentist will help you determine the procedure that best suits you.
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