Issues with your smile can cause you to be self-conscious. The list of issues may include stained, crooked, or worn teeth. However, if one or more of your front teeth are missing, this can be a glaring concern since it is highly noticeable. There are many potential causes for a missing front tooth, including periodontal disease, decay, trauma, or a congenital issue where the tooth never develops. Our skilled team at Skyline Dental can help restore the look and function of your smile when a tooth is missing.
Considerations for Replacing a Missing Front Tooth
Any dental restoration requires care and attention to detail. Since front teeth are highly visible and play a large role in your smile, this is especially important. You should choose a restorative and cosmetic dentist who can create realistic replacement teeth that look natural and blend with your existing teeth.
It’s also essential to consider the full process before beginning treatment. Digital Smile Design is an innovative tool we use at our Tucson dental office that allows you to see how the final front tooth restoration will look. This can be beneficial for identifying any additional treatments that could improve the final outcome. For example, if you are unhappy with the shade, length, or shape of your surrounding teeth, you may consider veneers during the process of fabricating your replacement tooth. Having the laboratory ceramist make multiple adjacent restorations at once allows the ceramist to control the color and appearance of multiple teeth. As a result, they all match and naturally blend in with your smile when delivered. It is much more difficult to get an accurate shade match of multiple teeth if they are done one at a time.
Dental Implant or Bridge?
There are two main options for replacing a missing front tooth: a bridge or a dental implant. The video above summarizes how each one works and what the potential benefits and drawbacks are.
Front Tooth Dental Implant
A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed below the gum line and acts as an artificial tooth root. It also acts as an anchor for a final crown and prevents the degradation of bone and gum tissue in that area. This is important because as time passes after tooth loss, the bone in your jaw can begin to resorb. Bone loss changes the shape of your jaw. This can shift teeth around the space where you are missing a tooth, causing more issues and complications. In addition to preventing this issue, an implant can be cared for like a natural tooth. It does not attach to the teeth around it.
For implant placement, we will work with a trusted oral surgeon or periodontist. During healing, we will provide a provisional replacement tooth to wear while your implant integrates with your jaw bone. This process takes approximately 2-3 months. During this time, we will work with a dental laboratory to make a highly-realistic crown that matches the shade of your surrounding teeth. After you have healed, we will place this crown and make sure you are satisfied with the final appearance of the restoration.
Dental Bridge for Front Tooth Replacement
A dental bridge is a prosthetic tooth that is supported on either side by natural teeth. A well-made bridge will look realistic and can be a valuable solution for some patients. However, there are a few things to consider. Cleaning a bridge takes more work because it requires different hygienic care than a natural tooth. It also will not prevent bone loss. As a result, your teeth may still shift around your missing front tooth and you may need to replace the bridge in the future.
Overall, we will typically recommend a dental implant instead of a bridge, but this is dependent on individual circumstances. For example, surgery may be more difficult due to existing bone loss. Alternatively, your neighboring teeth may already need crowns, favoring the option for a bridge. Of course, we will also take your preferences into consideration and will discuss all of your different options.
Highly-Skilled Cosmetic and Restorative Dentist in Tucson, AZ
If you are missing a front tooth and would like to restore your smile, Skyline Dental can help. We consider both form and function and can discuss whether a dental implant or a bridge would be best for your unique circumstances. Our cosmetic dentist, Dr. James Raymond, has extensive experience creating realistic dental restorations. We also focus on your comfort throughout the process.