Options for Fixing a Missing Tooth
A tooth missing at the front of the mouth leaves an ugly gap for sure, but your cosmetic dentist in Houston TX can fix this one way or another. Years ago a removable prosthesis or denture was the only solution but nowadays you can have either a bridge or an implant.
WHAT IS A FIXED BRIDGE?
A fixed bridge is usually constructed in a dental laboratory and consists, (when replacing just the one tooth), of three jacket crowns joined together so that in the mouth the crowns which are artificial teeth hollowed out, fit exactly over the teeth either side of the gap. These teeth are called the abutments and are reduced and shaped in order to allow for the crowns to fit over. Once the bridge is fitted the artificial tooth is suspended between the teeth either side of the gap but looks for all the world as if it is growing from the gum just like a natural tooth.
Sometimes it is possible to make a bridge without having to cut down any adjacent teeth at all by means of bonding techniques. Modern dental adhesives are so good that an artificial tooth can sometimes be simply “glued” on to one or more adjacent teeth to produce what is called a Maryland Bridge.
FIXING A MISSING FRONT TOOTH WITH A DENTAL IMPLANT
The dental implant is another way to fill the gap left by a lost tooth and is even more amazing than a bridge in that it closely resembles a complete natural tooth by being embedded into the actual jaw bone. The actual artificial tooth is made out of porcelain like a crown, but fitted on the top of a metal post instead of on to a cut-down natural tooth. The metal post fits into an anchoring device previously inserted into the jaw bone by precise drilling and placement and is often in the form of a hollow, perforated metal tube that has become fixed and stabilized by dint of natural bone growing around it and fusing with it. The sub-structure may need a few months to stabilize or may in certain cases accept the post and crown almost straightaway.
There is no doubt that the dental implant is the best way to replace a missing front tooth due to a traumatic accident when the other natural teeth are fine since it does not require the disturbance of other teeth in any way. All the materials used for implants are bio-compatible so that the risk of rejection and loosening is minimized.
Individual implants can be placed as required provided there is sufficient depth of jaw bone to accept them, and if there are several teeth missing it is possible to provide several fixed anchors at strategic points and then construct a removable bridge that slots over them and will be much stronger and firmer than the usual type of removable prosthesis that sits mostly on the gums. If you live near to Houston you are in luck because this is a center of excellence for this and all other types of cosmetic dentistry.