There’s a lot at stake on picking the right tooth replacement. How you replace missing teeth affects how your smile looks, feels, and functions.

At Carmichael Dental Care, we know it’s a big decision. We want to provide as much information as we can to help you choose a tooth replacement. Call our Montgomery, AL office at 334-600-1423 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chet Swartzentruber or Dr. Shawn Keahey.

They’ll walk you through all of the options, answer all of your questions, and help you make the right choice for your smile. Your decision will be based on these factors:

  • Number of missing teeth
  • Condition of your remaining teeth and jawbone
  • Your overall oral health
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your budget

In the meantime, we’ve provided some information we think you’ll find helpful.

You’ve Got 3 Tooth Replacement Options

Your three options for replacing teeth:

  • A dental bridge
  • Dentures
  • Dental implants

A fourth option is not to replace teeth at all. We think that’s a terrible idea. Depending on where a missing tooth is located, it will leave a visible gap in your smile. It will also affect your oral function. You’ll be forced to eat softer foods. This isn’t good for you, since crunchy raw vegetables and fruit are among the healthiest foods. Nearby teeth will shift in your mouth, which can affect your bite. The bone around your missing teeth will shrink. Over time that results in a “sunken-in” appearance that can make you look years older than you are.

Dental Bridge Pros and Cons

To place a dental bridge, our dentists usually put dental crowns on your adjacent teeth. Then they attach a false tooth or teeth (called pontics) to the crowns. Pontics are essentially crowns with no teeth under them.

Among their pros:

  • They can replace a single teeth or several missing teeth
  • Unlike dentures, you don’t need to remove them for cleaning
  • They provide  better chewing ability than dentures
  • They’re more similar in size and shape to your natural teeth than dentures

We’re so confident in the quality of our bridges, we even offer a three-year breakage warranty!

Perhaps the biggest downside is that we have to reduce your healthy teeth to attach crowns to them. As with dentures, you’ll also suffer bone loss in the areas where you lost teeth. Unlike dentures, we can’t replace all of your teeth with bridges.

Dentures Pros and Cons

Dentures are one of the oldest options for tooth replacement. Their pros include:

  • You can replace multiple missing teeth with partial dentures, or you can get full dentures to replace all of your teeth
  • They are usually among the most affordable solutions
  • Like our bridges, we provide a three-year breakage warranty for our dentures
  • We use Cosmetic Life-Like Dentures®, which have a more lifelike appearance than standard dentures

Still, compared to dental implants or dental bridges, there are disadvantages. Dentures can affect your speech and your diet. They sit on your gums, so they may require adhesive to keep in place. Even with adhesive, they can sometimes slip. They also require special care to keep clean. They usually need to be relined or replaced every five years or so, because the fit changes as your bone shrinks.

Much of that changes if our dentists attach your dentures to dental implants. This stabilizes your dentures, so you’ll have a stronger bite and won’t have to worry about them slipping. You won’t need adhesive, and your jaw will stay strong and healthy.

Dental Implants Are Most Like Natural Teeth

Since dental implants are embedded in your jaw, they stimulate it much like your natural tooth roots do. Your bone doesn’t deteriorate, which is one of the biggest benefits. Implants can replace anywhere from a single tooth to a mouthful of teeth, depending on the dental restoration used with them. We can attach a dental crown, a dental bridge, or dentures to implants.

Other pros include:

  • They require no special care.
  • With proper care, they should last a lifetime.
  • They give you strong bite, so you can eat what you want
  • They don’t require adhesive, and there’s no slippage

Probably the biggest downside to dental implants is expense. They cost more than bridges or dentures. However, they should last longer than either of those restorations.

It’s important to work with dentists who have experience using different restorations and who take the time to prepare you for the restorative dental care you choose. That’s what we do for our patients at Carmichael Dental Care! Call  334-600-1423 to schedule a tooth replacement consultation.