Treating damaged or missing teeth requires a good foundation for supporting new teeth. Both the remaining natural teeth and/or new dental implants can be used to provide this support. Additionally, there are a number of alternatives for new teeth.
Using natural teeth
The most common method for repairing a damaged single tooth is a dental crown, cemented onto the existing natural tooth. Your dentist prepares the existing tooth by grinding it down. After taking an impression, he or she attaches a temporary crown while the final restoration is at the lab.
Another alternative for restoring one or more missing teeth is a bridge, using adjacent natural teeth as anchors. To secure the bridge, your dentist prepares the adjacent teeth just like the single tooth above.
There are two main drawbacks to using natural teeth as anchors for replacing your missing tooth. First, your jawbone isn't supported because the tooth root is missing, resulting in eventual shrinkage and gum recession. Second, your healthy teeth are unnecessary modified.
In both cases, you must return to your dentist to have the final restoration, which looks and feels like your natural teeth, cemented in place.
Using dental implants
When you are missing a tooth, or one must be extracted, dental implants can be used as the foundation to which a new tooth is attached. Because dental implants are inserted into your jawbone they function like tooth roots, providing support for the jawbone. Additionally, your healthy teeth are left untouched.
In nearly all treatment cases, your dentist will attach a temporary prosthesis in your mouth while the final crown or bridge is being made. This temporary tooth will allow you to leave the dental office, eating and smiling normally.
New teeth material
New teeth can be produced from a number of materials. Thanks to material advancements, the most attractive restorations are produced with 100% ceramic materials. These are incredibly strong and provide the best available esthetics.
In the past, dentists offered metal crowns and bridges with porcelain (ceramic paint) fused on top. At the time this was the strongest solution available. Unfortunately, if your gum receded, a black metal line became visible at the lower edge of the restoration.
Today, all-ceramic crowns and bridges can be used in all locations of your mouth. For the best esthetics, ask your dentist for an all-ceramic restoration.
Important safety information Treatment with dental implants is a surgical procedure and requires prior evaluation by your dentist to make sure your dental and general health permits dental implant treatment.Find out more.