The Best Single Tooth Replacement Options in 2024
Missing a tooth can significantly impact your overall oral health and self-confidence. But don't worry, modern dentistry offers a variety of effective solutions. Read more below about options to replace a missing tooth.
The Best Single Tooth Replacement Options in 2024
post autor
post date
Jan 2024
post autor
post date
Jan 2024

The Best Single Tooth Replacement Options in 2024

A missing tooth can cause significant changes to your oral health, as well as your self-confidence. Thankfully, modern dentistry offers a variety of effective solutions for this issue depending on the patient’s needs.

Our dental implant office provides numerous treatment methods to replace a missing tooth. Our goal is to help you regain the smile you remember without paying for more than you have to. This article breaks down the main treatment solutions available to help you prepare for your visit and learn more about your treatment options. No article can replace the advice of a trained oral surgeon, however, so we recommend visiting us with all your treatment questions so we can help you figure out the best plan.

What are the problems with missing a tooth?

Not everyone who is missing a tooth is aware of the significant impact it can have on their oral health. People can see the cosmetic issue and feel the pain and lack of confidence. Depending on the tooth, they may also experience biting, chewing, and speech issues. However, these problems, though potentially significant, are not the whole story.

Missing even a single tooth changes the way your bite aligns between the upper and lower arches. Over time, this leads to imbalances in the biting and chewing forces your jaw would normally exert across all your teeth. By missing part of the arch, some ligaments will start overworking while others fall into disuse. Over time, this can lead to jaw and face pain that won’t go away with rest because the problem is in the very way you are biting and chewing on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, even that’s not the extent of the issues. These imbalanced biting forces can go as far as causing bone degradation in the jaw because it’s not getting the balanced workout it’s used to or the right nourishment from a proper tooth root. Did you know that the "sunken face” appearance in elderly people who are missing teeth is not usually a natural result of aging? Instead, it is a result of bone loss from inadequately treating missing teeth as a cosmetic issue only. We specialize in providing specialized zygomatic implants and bone grafting for severe bone loss cases that typically result in going too long without replacing a missing tooth.

What are my single-tooth replacement options?

There are three main options for replacing a single tooth: removable partial dentures, fixed dental bridges, and permanent dental implants. These treatments each have pros and cons that you should think about before consulting a professional about your unique situation.

Removable partial dentures

Removable partial dentures are like regular dentures that only replace the missing tooth. They have a plastic base that goes over the gums and a metal frame that clasps to the teeth adjacent to the gap left by the missing one. The main benefit of this treatment is that it's the cheapest and easiest option for a purely cosmetic fix.

Dentures may provide the most affordable way for patients, particularly older ones, to fix the appearance of missing a tooth. However, they do nothing to prevent bone degradation since the tooth root and structure are not also being replaced. Studies show that wearing dentures for many years can lead to bone loss, jaw pain, and even appearance changes.

Fixed dental bridges

A fixed dental bridge is a common solution for replacing a missing tooth. A bridge consists of a false tooth or “pontic” that is placed between the remaining healthy teeth or “abutments.” This is a quick cosmetic procedure that can usually be performed by general or cosmetic dentists.

It’s quicker and cheaper to get a fixed dental bridge than a full implant, though the abutments often need to be reshaped to make room for the false tooth. This is a reason why fixed dental bridges are not ideal solutions for everyone since those abutment teeth might be perfectly healthy. Grinding them down and reducing the amount of healthy enamel may be harmful in the long run. Do you really want to grind down the two healthy teeth next to the missing tooth to make room for the bridge?

Additionally, while fixed dental bridges repair the appearance of the missing tooth more permanently than removable dentures, they still do not replace the tooth root. The bone degradation issue discussed earlier would still be an issue with this treatment option.

Permanent dental implants

Dental implants provide the only permanent solution to missing teeth that successfully mimics the structure of having areal tooth. This prevents implant patients from experiencing the chronic pain and degradation experienced by those who opt for other solutions.

A permanent implant actually has three parts: a titanium screw inserted into the jaw (the “implant”), the abutment, which holds the tooth in place, and the crown, which is the false tooth on top. The fact that it’s physically screwed into the jaw means that the tooth is “rooted” in place. When you bite and chew, your muscles and bones act the same as if you still had your real tooth.

What is the healthiest solution to missing teeth?

Dental implants are the healthiest permanent solution to missing teeth. They look and function like real teeth and have had a proven success rate for millions of patients seeking long-term results for missing teeth without worrying about complicated appliances that require maintenance and multiple procedures.

Permanent implants are proven to replace missing teeth both cosmetically and structurally. Elderly patients don’t need to worry about bone loss and other structural changes because the implant will behave like a real tooth, with no more or less maintenance required than an actual tooth. Dental implants can be inserted one at a time or as an entire row using four strategically placed implants for patients who need to replace an entire arch.

Replace a missing tooth with same-day implants

Permanent dental implants represent a significant procedure that will have a life-long impact on your oral health. It's crucial to choose the right professional to get the job done right. For that, you have oral and maxillofacial surgeons who specialize in implant and restorative dentistry.

The Florida Dental Implant Institute has an office in Naples, Florida. Every day, we help patients replace missing teeth with high-quality permanent implants. In many cases, we can offer same-day implants with a hassle-free treatment process from a team you trust.

To recap, here are some of the benefits you can expect from a permanent single-tooth implant:

  • Preventing bone degradation
  •  Preventing existing teeth from shifting
  • Preventing sagging facial features
  • Preventing bite problems and misalignment
  • Preventing loss of confidence

There are other benefits specific to same-day implants. Teeth that are damaged, infected, or decayed often need to be extracted to protect your other teeth and gums. However, extraction can raise the risk of bacteria infecting and spreading to other healthy teeth. To mitigate this risk, we offer same-day dental implants. The oral surgeon can extract the tooth and perform the implant surgery at the same time in most cases.

Sometimes, if bone degradation has already occurred due to an underlying condition or the tooth loss itself, bone grafts can be used to strengthen the area first. This can be done the same day as the extraction to keep appointments to a minimum.

Can I get a dental implant years after an extraction?

Though preferable to get the implant as soon after the extraction as possible, dental implant surgery can be performed even years after the tooth was removed, provided you have enough jaw bone to support the mechanism.

Some patients need the extraction but aren't sure whether they will get a permanent implant. This is fine too. For these patients, we can perform a “socket preservation” procedure, which is a special bone graft that preserves the size and shape of the empty socket to counteract any bone loss.

Visit us today

Choosing the right option to replace your missing tooth largely depends on your circumstances, including your oral health, budget, and personal preferences. It's important to discuss these options with your dentist to find the solution that best fits your needs.

At our office, we're dedicated to helping you make an informed decision about your oral health. We'll walk you through these options, answer any questions you may have, and provide expert advice based on your unique situation. Remember, our main goal is to ensure that you regain your smile and confidence, so don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us today.

To schedule your appointment with one of our Naples implant specialists, contact us today or book online.