All He Wants For Christmas...
Fact: our eight year old son (he of not one, but two dentist parents) will be missing his two front teeth for Christmas 2013. Fact: the toy making elf in the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation television special is named Chip. Fact: said elf has an intense burning desire to give up toy making and become...a dentist.
My chosen profession is destiny or conspiracy, take your pick.
For discussion’s sake, let us assume that one is missing one’s two front teeth. One well over the age of eight. Someone who wants to wish you a Merry Christmas. What options are out there to replace two front teeth?
In my opinion, the very best option is dental implants. Two teeth on two implants. Nothing connected or removable. Replace the roots with implants and the teeth with implant supported crowns. There are a lot of clinical factors to consider, but this technology allows dentists to truly replace teeth with teeth.
Option two would be a bridge (we call this a fixed partial denture, FPD). FPDs use adjacent teeth to support false teeth in between them. The advantage of a bridge is that it has a long history and can be delivered predictably with a cost less than implants. The major disadvantage is that an FPD involves extra (sometimes perfectly healthy) teeth and can lead to even bigger problems over the long term when the bridge fails. Depending on circumstances, bridges can still be a good treatment.
Both dental implants and FPDs must have bone to support them. Unfortunately for a lot of patients, bone can be lost due to trauma, gum disease, age, or other factors. In these situations, our best choice is often a removable partial denture (RPD, partial plate, or partial.) Esthetics and economics of partials can both be excellent. They are more affordable than both implants and bridges. Eating can be easy or very challenging depending on a lot of factors. The best partials under the sun often have a little give to them and patients often complain about food getting under them. Removable partials are an option.
These are but three of many ways to replace the proverbial two front teeth. Other options include flippers, snap-on teeth, small diameter implants, implant retained partials, Maryland bridges, the list goes on and on. If you want to wish a Merry Christmas, ask your dentist what options are right for you.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-If you have questions, please contact Dr. Chip through www.ParrishDental.com to see what option might be best for you.