older blonde woman smiling before her dental exam begins

Tooth Replacement Options in Chaffee County

Serving: Salida, Poncha Springs, Beuna Vista, Leadville, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Montrose and the rest of Central Colorado

Consequences of Tooth Loss

Whether your tooth has been lost due to an accident, or extracted for therapeutic purposes, each situation ends in the same results: an open space in your smile. Sure, this open space may seem unsightly or even make you feel embarrassed - but it can also influence the health of the other teeth in your mouth as they suffer greater stress.

Your Social Life

two dentists reviewing a patients xrays

Depending on where the tooth was, you may or may not be bothered with the appearance of your smile with a missing tooth. If you have a wide smile or the tooth is not very far back in your mouth, the space made after an extraction will be visible as you talk, smile or laugh. Psychologically, this can cause you to refrain from smiling around other people or in photographs. Even if you have a fun personality, other people may think that you are not as friendly as you really are - simply because you are not smiling. Missing teeth can impact your social, professional and personal life.

Replacing Your Tooth Quickly Can Help

If you know that you need to have a tooth pulled or recently had one extracted, the best thing that you can do is to plan for replacing that tooth as quickly as possible. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the less time there is for complications to occur.

There are more ways to replace your tooth than you might think.

Replacing Missing Teeth

child smiling at the park

Missing teeth can impact the appearance, function and health of your smile. Of course, no one actually wants to have a missing tooth. Unfortunately, even those of us with very healthy smiles may find at some point a tooth needs to be replaced. The key is to replace your missing tooth as quickly as possible. Doing so eliminates the impact that a missing tooth can have on your oral health and confidence.

The Spacing of Other Teeth

If you remove one tooth, do you think it can impact the teeth in other parts of your mouth? You may not - but it can. Even if a tooth is removed in one arch, the teeth in the opposite arch are affected. How? you ask? Drifting of the teeth due to changes in the bite relationship. An opposing tooth that once used your tooth to bite against may now start to β€œsupra-erupt” out of place in an effort to find a biting partner.

Teeth adjacent to your missing tooth will no longer be supported on one side. Even a slight amount of movement into the open space will create a chain reaction. Slowly, one by one, the teeth start to shift throughout the mouth. If you have a perfectly straight smile (by nature or thanks to braces,) you can lose it before you even realize what has happened. Minor crowding, gaps and leaning teeth are very likely after a dental extraction that is not followed by tooth replacement.

woman with wavy brown hair standing in front of a dark orange door

As teeth shift or lean, they are at a greater risk of leading to problems like:

  • Broken Teeth
  • TMJ Disorder
  • Cavities
  • Gum Disease
  • Worn Enamel & Dental Restorations
an empty dental operatorium

Which Option is Best for You?

How to Choose the Best Tooth Replacement

Unsure of which type of tooth replacement option is the most appropriate for you? It can seem confusing with so many choices. That’s ok!

What are your personal preferences?

Do you want to wear a permanent prosthesis that never comes out of place, or would you rather have a removable appliance that is taken out each night? This is one of the best places to start when you need to narrow down the right treatment option for you.

What does your oral health look like?

Healthy teeth and bone levels are essential for some types of treatments. For instance, a traditional bridge will require disease-free teeth to support it in place. A denture does not. Dental implants require adequate bone support for them to be supported. These are all things that the doctor will need to assess prior to recommending appropriate options for your smile rehabilitation.

Do I need to straighten my teeth first?

It could be that crooked, misplaced or leaning teeth need to be returned to proper alignment prior to the tooth replacement procedure is performed. The best way to do this is through a comfortable orthodontic solution like Invisalign. With Invisalign you can reposition the teeth into proper alignment before the tooth is replaced.

Conventional dentures and partial dentures are one of the most traditional forms of tooth replacement. Full mouth dentures replace all of your teeth with one prosthesis. A denture is used when all teeth are missing or need to be extracted due to extensive gum disease or tooth decay. If any teeth are remaining, those teeth will have to be extracted prior to the denture being placed. Some dentures require healing after the extraction before they can be placed. Immediate delivery of dentures allows you to have a denture placed directly after the extraction, but it will need to be adjusted due to the changes that take place during healing.

Partial dentures replace only the missing teeth. Existing, healthy teeth are left in place. Rather than spanning over the roof of you mouth or the entire jaw, a partial denture uses minor framework that is clasped into place around your existing teeth. Because the healthy teeth add needed stability, the partial denture can be minimalist in design. In most cases, removable denture selections offer the most budget friendly approach to missing teeth. However, some people find them to be invasive or uncomfortable compared to other types of tooth replacement options available.

Options for Tooth Replacement

various orthodontic styles to complete your smile

Dental Implants

Today, the preferred method of tooth replacement is dental implants. Implants function as independent teeth, made of a prosthetic titanium root that support a restoration such as a crown or bridge.

In most cases, dental implants are stronger than natural teeth. Their success rating is extremely high, lasting as long as a lifetime in approximately 94% of dental implant patients. The number of dental implants that you need will depend on the type of restoration that you choose. For a single tooth, one implant and crown are used. A multi-tooth dental bridge is usually supported by two implants (one on either end). Implant retained dentures can replace an entire arch of teeth.

Fixed Dental Bridges

A bridge is a fixed restoration that holds a false crown between two functional teeth. The functional crowns are anchored onto the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. Of course, this requires a healthy, stable tooth on each side to properly support the bridge. The supporting teeth are prepped the way a tooth would be for a crown. Then an impression is taken, so that a custom bridge can be designed. About two weeks later, the bridge is ready to be bonded permanently over the teeth.

If healthy teeth are not present, then a bridge will not be an option. However, bridges can also be anchored directly onto dental implants to replace wider areas of missing teeth. Each end of the bridge is supported by a single implant, allowing the restoration to replace up to 3 or 4 teeth at once.

Implant Retained Dentures

An implant retained denture brings the stability of dental implants and the full coverage of a denture together. Your retained denture will not rock out of place the way a regular denture would. It provides greater reliability and comfort on a day to day basis. Dentures can be secured by as few as 2 to 4 dental implants. Depending on the type of implant denture that you are wearing, the process could go a few different ways.

Dental implants allow dentures to snap in and out without becoming loose throughout the day. Depending on the health of your jaw, only 2 implants may be needed. Other forms of implant retained dentures can be permanently anchored into the jaw with as few as 4 implants.

Some people elect to use mini dental implants to secure their denture. Mini implants add much needed security for dentures that may not stay in place well with an adhesive. They are also very easy to place, with very little discomfort. Since they are much smaller than conventional implants, more of them will be needed. Most people require at least 4 mini implants to keep the denture retained properly.

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