5107 Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC 29206 | Mon - Thurs: 8:00am - 4:00pm, Fri - Sun: Closed

Adults have 32 teeth, but those ages 20-64 have an average of only 25.5. 2.2% of them have lost them all.

There are various explanations for these missing teeth. They could be the result of trauma, bruxism, or oral conditions such as cavities or gum disease.

This is a major risk, even if the tooth is only chipped and hasn’t fallen out. In addition to the risk of infection, it can change the shape of your jaw or other teeth, make it difficult to speak or chew your food, and ruin your self-esteem.

There are several ways to repair and replace them. Read on to learn about 6 possible solutions for missing teeth.

1. Implants

Dental implants are one of the most common and reliable tooth replacement methods. The market for them is worth over $4.6 billion.

Installing a dental implant involves removing the root of one tooth and replacing it with a metal screw. It’s a surgery that requires anesthesia. 

Once they’re installed, implants are permanent and natural-looking. They also have a high success rate of approximately 95%.

The problem is that the process to get them is extensive and expensive. You’ll require several appointments to remove the old tooth and make sure the implant fits correctly.

2. Bridges

A bridge may be the solution if you have one to three missing teeth in a row. They get their name because they “bridge” the gap that these missing teeth create. There are two major types to choose from, implant-supported and tooth-supported.

An implant-supported bridge secures the two teeth at each end with an implant. The bridge holds the rest in place. They’re as effective and natural as individual implants. They’re only available in certain circumstances, require numerous dental visits, and aren’t a permanent solution. 

A tooth-supported bridge starts by placing crowns over two or more teeth next to your missing teeth. The dentist then cements the bridge in place. They’re quicker and more affordable, but the procedure presents a greater risk of infections and complications. 

There are other types of dental bridges such as Maryland and Cantilever. It’s important to discuss which version is best for you with your dentist. 

3. Dentures

At least 19% of the population, or 1 in 5, wear a form of denture. They bring to mind the stereotype of a grandma taking out her teeth at night, but that’s not always the case. 

You don’t have to be edentulous or missing all your teeth, to wear them. Many are only used to replace a few missing teeth. 

Removable partial dentures are similar to implants, but one of the best benefits is that they’re much more affordable. They’re also easy to replace and modify if they need to cover any further damage.

They can become uncomfortable and get dirty if you don’t follow a careful dental care routine. You need to clean them every day and remove them before you go to sleep. They’re also more noticeable than other teeth replacement options. 

A flipper is another temporary option that gets its name from the way it flips in and out of position. It’s lighter and less noticeable than other dentures but can also be uncomfortable. 

Whether you choose a permanent or temporary option, the benefits of dentures extend beyond replacing teeth. They can make it easier to talk and eat, improve your dental health, and improve your self-esteem. This makes them a fitting option to replace multiple missing teeth.

4. Bonding

Dental bonding is a growing part of dentistry with a market worth $14.7 billion. It’s also an effective solution for a partially missing tooth or one that’s cracked or chipped.

Bonding involves filling in the holes in your mouth with a tooth-colored material. It then gets hardened and shaped to your teeth.

Once the procedure is over, it looks and feels natural. It’s also more affordable than other options for partial repair. 

5. Veneers

Veneers are tooth-shaped shells that can cover cracked or partially missing teeth. There are two main options to choose from. They include composite and porcelain veneers.

Composite veneers are made of composite or polymer-based material. They’re the more affordable of the two and can be installed in one day. 

The material doesn’t last as long and is more likely to chip or break. It can also stain like natural teeth if you smoke or eat foods or drinks such as berries or coffee. 

Porcelain veneers are made of a piece of porcelain that’s manufactured to fit your mouth. They’re stronger and look more natural because they’re customized to look like the rest of your teeth. 

The process of getting them takes longer and may span over multiple appointments. They’re also more expensive, but they’re a better investment because they last longer.

6. Crowns

Crowns cover teeth replaced by dental implants, but they can also be used to replace partially missing teeth.

They’re made with a range of materials including metal, porcelain, resin, and ceramics. This affects their success rate and how long you’ll have to wait to get one.

The process of getting dental crowns starts with an initial visit. The dentist will x-ray your mouth to see what it looks like. Then, they’ll shape your teeth and take impressions that get sent to a lab that will make your crown. You’ll get a temporary crown until your second visit. 

The dentist will then place the permanent crown over your missing tooth and lock it in place with cement. It should be painless and durable if you take proper care of it.

Where to Go to Replace Missing Teeth

Missing teeth are more than an inconvenience; they’re a health risk. They can make it difficult to speak, eat, and maintain your oral health. 

There are several options to consider when deciding how to replace them. You could try an implant for a single tooth or a bridge for several in a row. Dentures can cover multiple teeth no matter where they are. Crowns and veneers replace them while also making them look better. 

Lockhart Dental is your local dentist that offers restorative and cosmetic dentistry to fill any gaps in your smile. Make an appointment today.