Statistics show that in the United States, 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 are missing at least one tooth. Gum disease, tooth decay, and trauma are common causes for tooth loss. A missing tooth can cause embarrassment or cause you to smile less. But more importantly, missing teeth can affect your oral health and your overall health. Dr. Camille Adli offers several options to replace a missing tooth, including a partial denture, a dental bridge, or a dental implant.

Partial Dentures

Removable Partial Denture

A removable partial denture is the least expensive option for replacing missing teeth. The framework is made of plastic or metal, and a gum-colored base is attached to it. Replacement teeth that match the color of your natural teeth are embedded in the base. Clasps from the framework clip onto your teeth to keep the denture in place. This option can replace multiple teeth, but it is neither as comfortable, nor as stable as a dental bridge or dental implants.

Dental Implants Replacing Multiple Teeth

Dental implants are a much more comfortable, durable, and effective way to replace multiple teeth. There is no framework going across the roof of your mouth or under your tongue. There are no clasps placed on existing healthy teeth. It’s like having your own natural teeth back. A root form is placed in your jawbone and a crown is placed over that. Without an x-ray, it can be hard to tell the restoration from a natural tooth. And there is no movement in the missing teeth, no need to take the teeth out at night, and no risk of the teeth becoming loose at an embarrassing moment.

This also creates a much healthier situation. Using dental implants eliminates the stress put on other teeth from clasps that are required to keep a removable partial in place. Partial denture clasps also trap food particles and bacteria and can thus promote decay on these abutment teeth. And dental implants help preserve your jawbone. When teeth are extracted, your body begins a gradual process of resorbing the bone that used to support those teeth and using those minerals elsewhere in your body. Dental implants arrest that process.

Implant-supported bridge

If you are missing multiple teeth, a bridge that is supported by dental implants may be an option for you. Implants are surgically placed in your jawbone. A dental bridge is secured to the implants. The implants replace natural tooth roots and help prevent jawbone shrinkage. An implant is not required for each tooth that is replaced, so this option is less expensive than individual implants.

Dental Bridge vs Dental Implant

If you are missing a single tooth, there are two good ways to replace that. Which option is better for you can depend on the situation in your mouth and the health of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.

Fixed bridge

The teeth on either side of the missing one are shaved down and prepared for dental crowns. A replacement tooth is joined between the two crowns to form a bridge. The bridge is cemented to the prepared teeth, with the replacement tooth suspended between them.

The result feels very solid and natural. Special care must be taken to thread floss around and beneath the bridge to keep it clean. It is less expensive than a dental implant, but it is not as natural looking. Also, if you experience problems with any part of the bridge or the teeth beneath the crowns, it is likely that the entire bridge will need to be redone.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically implanted in your jawbone. It mimics the structure of a natural tooth. After the implant and your jawbone fuse together, a replacement tooth, or dental crown, is secured to the implant.

Dental implants prevent jawbone loss, which occurs when teeth are missing. Although implants are the most expensive form of tooth replacement, they can last a lifetime. Your implant will also look and feel natural.

Unlike removable dentures, you don’t have to worry about an implant slipping around or falling out. When you receive an implant, no work on adjacent teeth is required as with a dental bridge. You care for an implant by flossing around it and brushing it just as you do your natural teeth.

Our in-house implant surgeon is Dr. Peiman Soleymani, a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. For more than a decade, Dr. Soleymani has held teaching positions at USC and UCLA Schools of Dentistry. He currently teaches in the Department of Advanced Treatment Planning at UCLA School of Dentistry, where he guides third- and fourth-year dental students in their most complicated cases. Dr. Soleymani will ensure that the planning and placement of your dental implant is of the highest quality. Dr. Adli will provide you with a quality, natural-looking crown for your implant.

Regardless of which form of tooth replacement you are interested in—a partial denture, a dental bridge, or a dental implant—Dr. Adli will discuss your treatment options with you, and she will let you know the results you can expect from them. Call us to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online.