What Are My Options For Replacing A Missing Tooth?

What Are My Options For Replacing A Missing Tooth? by Hunt Valley, MD Dentist Dr. Joel Nathanson.

Video Transcript

What Are My Options For Replacing A Missing Tooth?

There are basically three options for replacing the missing tooth and which one the patient chooses depends on a number of different factors. The first option is what’s called the fixed bridge. If you have a tooth on either side of the space where you want to place a tooth, you can actually place crowns on those teeth on either side of the space and attach a false tooth to them.

If there is no tooth behind the space, then obviously a fixed bridge is not an option. The other thing to consider is, do the teeth on either side of the space actually need crowns for restorative reasons? If they are healthy, what we call virgin teeth, doing a fixed bridge is probably not the best option for that.

The second option is something removable like a removable partial denture, or in some cases, when patients have lost all of their teeth, a removable full denture. People are very familiar with these. They’re not the best way, generally, to replace teeth. I liken it to having a peg leg instead of a sophisticated artificial limb, to put it in that kind of context.

The third, and in my opinion, best way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant. A dental implant is basically a false root that is placed in the bone where the tooth is missing. The bone knits into the implant and secures it in place and enables us to put a crown or sometimes denture on top of the implant. And patients report that that really feels, functions, and really looks the most like a natural tooth. So given a choice, a dental implant is almost always the way to go to replace a missing tooth.