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Have you ever wondered how significant the number of people who are missing at least one tooth is? Quite significant and scary at the same time, actually. According to the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP), almost 180 million Americans are deprived of their perfect smiles because of lost teeth, while 40 million Americans are missing all of their top and bottom teeth rows. Quite the scary statistics, considering the fact that these numbers are mainly attributed to cavities, tooth decay, and periodontal diseases. Dental care is no joke, though we might take it as such.

While many of us don’t realize the value of a tooth until we lose it, the consequences of tooth loss should make us think twice before skipping on our toothbrush routine. And it’s not just about the smile; tooth loss affects the way we speak, the way we chew our food, and the jawbone. Furthermore, it causes the other teeth to move towards the empty socket, necessitating straightening orthodontic treatment before any attempts at restorative dentistry, such as bridges or implants.

What to Do When You Lose a Tooth

Suppose that you lost a tooth, whatever the context. What to do first? It is essential that you try to reinsert the tooth into the empty socket or keep it in a sterile solution and take it to your dentist right away for reattachment. 

However, that doesn’t always work out. Luckily, current technology boasts several restorative dentistry options, perfect for any unique patient case, and our Loudoun Orthodontics team is here to jump to the rescue and help you regain that confident, natural smile in the wink of an eye. Let’s explore your tooth restoration options and decide which one says “you” the most!

#1: Dental Implants

Right off the bat, we have the most recurrent restorative dentistry treatment, dental implants, which provide a safe, steady, and reliable tooth replacement option. No kidding – according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, approx. 500,000 dental implants are placed yearly, which can last patients a lifetime with proper care.

Step by step, a specialist such as an oral surgeon or periodontist will insert metal screws in the empty socket to keep the future implant in place. Afterward, they will place the implant and give it some time to heal before it securely fuses itself to the jawbone, while a temporary crown protects it. At the third step, the specialist will make the implant permanent by screwing in the abutment (i.e., connecting the implant and the crown), leaving room for the final step – the dental crown placement, which seals and protects the implant.

This practical, permanent, natural-looking restorative option is the superior choice for patients looking for a one-time treatment without regular check-up visits! However, patients who opt for dental implants will have to dig a bit deeper into their pockets since prices for this restorative treatment range anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000.  

#2: Implant-Supported Bridge

If the length of dental implants treatment time acts as a deterrent, then an implant-supported bridge might be the fitter solution for you, especially if you’re missing multiple teeth in a row. With this treatment, the teeth at each end are secured with dental implants, while the ones in between are kept in place without any teeth screws.

This restorative treatment option provides impressive results similar to dental implants while being less harsh on your pocket. However, implant-supported bridges only work in specific circumstances (i.e., multiple missing teeth in a row); furthermore, they require replacements and, inevitably, more visits to the dental specialist.

#3: Tooth-Supported Bridge

A slightly different version of the previous restorative treatment uses your existing teeth for the placement of the bridge instead of two dental implants. Over the span of a few visits, your dentist will place a crown on the existing teeth, securing the ones in between.

Another pocket-friendly alternative to dental implants, tooth-supported bridges make the cut for patients who want to stay away from surgical, invasive procedures.

#4: Removable Partial Dentures

For patients looking for a more straightforward and more practical tooth replacement choice, removable partial dentures might catch their attention. These prosthetic devices consist of replacement teeth that are functionally and aesthetically identical to your natural teeth while also being detachable whenever necessary without professional help.

By far, one of the cheapest alternatives on the market, removable partial dentures show splendid results for patients who are looking for an easy-to-repair, easy-to-modify, and easy-to-replace device! However, compared to the other solutions that we’ve discussed, removable partial dentures do not exhibit the same natural look (i.e., because of the visible metal clasps), can be uncomfortable to wear, and require extra care. 

#5: Flipper

Also known as “acrylic removable partial denture,” this prosthetic device is a simpler version of the removable partial denture. The device attaches itself to the roof of your mouth (i.e., the palate) or the lower jaw without any metal clasps, providing a more natural look to your smile. Until you find a permanent solution, this insanely cheap and practical alternative will successfully fill the socket of your lost tooth! 

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