Ask The Dentist: 'What Can be Done If I am Missing a Tooth?'
Sometimes the tooth fairy leaves us with the short end of the stick. With 69% of adults experiencing the loss of a tooth between the ages of 35-44, if you're in the missing tooth camp, you're certainly not alone. If you're missing a tooth due to trauma, decay, medication, or hypodontia (meaning, one or two of your permanent teeth never arrived), then you know exactly what we mean. And, while the tooth fairy might have left you hanging without a replacement, your dentist can help provide an affordable and cosmetically appropriate solution in the form of a dental bridge, implant or partial.
A bridge is a form of dental prosthetic that allows for the placement of an artificial tooth in an area where a healthy tooth used to exist. When an entire tooth is lost, a bridge acts as a unifying device that supports the artificial tooth and eliminates the gap between adjacent teeth. To accomplish this, the artificial tooth (known as a pontic), needs to be joined to these adjacent teeth in order to stay in place.To visualize how this type of filling functions, it might help to think of them as the raised pins on upside-down version of a Lego block. Like a Lego, they help to keep the bridge secure once cemented to your healthy teeth. A bridge is permanently cemented in and therefore it functions as normal teeth and you do not remove it.
An implant is a metal screw that is placed in the jaw bone that acts like an artificial tooth root. Unlike a bridge, no anchor teeth are needed, so no other teeth are worked on. Once the implant integrates, a crown will be placed on top of the implant. Am implant will function as a normal tooth and you do not remove it.
A partial replace the missing tooth with an acrylic tooth that is placed on a metal and plastic base. It has clasps that attach to teeth on either side of the mouth to hold it in. A partial is removable and it is recommended that it be removed every evening.
Dentures, implants and partials all require that impression be taken so that the laboratory that River Street Dental works with are able to fabricate the different "gap" filler that is chosen. New technology is now being used in dentistry to take these impressions without the gooey putty-like material. Instead, a digital scanner is used and the digital file is sent to the dental laboratory. Stay tuned for more specific information on digital scanning and follow us as we go through training with this new technology!