fitting family dental visits into a crazy schedule

Lost A Front Tooth? Here Are Your Options For Replacing It

by Andre Daniels

Losing a front tooth, whether to an accident or to decay, can be pretty disheartening. People see the missing tooth whenever they look at you, and you see it whenever you look in the mirror -- which can really hurt your self-confidence. The best option, for many reasons, is always to replace that missing front tooth. This is good not only for your self-esteem, but also for your dental health, as leaving an empty space in your mouth can be bad for the surrounding teeth. Here's a look at your replacement options:

A Single Dental Implant

For most patients, a dental implant is considered the best replacement option. An implant, which resembles a metal screw, is surgically inserted into your jaw bone. You're left to heal for a few months, during which your jawbone fuses to the implant, forming a solid base. Then, a crown, or false tooth, is attached to the implant.

Though getting an implant is a surgical procedure that requires a few months' recovery time, implants look and function just like normal teeth once they heal. Nobody except you and your dentist will ever know that you're missing a natural front tooth.

Fixed Bridge

Your jawbone does have to be in good condition in order to support an implant. If your jawbone is too thin or brittle, your dentist may instead recommend a dental bridge to replace your missing front tooth. A bridge is a false tooth that attaches to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. It does not replace the root portion of the missing tooth -- just the above-gum, visible portion.

Bridges can be made from metal amalgam or from tooth-colored ceramic. For a front tooth, ceramic is usually used since it looks more like a natural tooth. Someone may be able to tell your tooth is not natural if they look at it closely, but it will not be overly obvious.

A Removable Denture

If the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are not in that great of shape, your dentist may not want to insert a bridge and place more strain on them. In this case, you may be fitted with a removable denture to replace the missing tooth. This device looks much like a retainer with a false tooth attached to it. When you put it in, the gap is filled with a white false tooth. You'll generally remove the partial denture at night. People may be able to tell you have a false tooth if they look closely, but from a few paces back, it won't be obvious.

For more information on your options, contact a dental office like Alliance Family Dental.