Are dental implants the best option to replace a missing tooth?
Hello – I’ve been doing some reading around your site, and would like to ask a dental question related to missing teeth.
After a drinking session last month, I fell down some stairs and now have a missing tooth. I also required root canal treatment to save another. What dentistry procedures would you recommend to replace the tooth? Is implant the best option?
Also, besides looking better, are there any other benefits of having the tooth replaced? (i.e. will there be anything bad if I never have the tooth replaced?) Thanks!
Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear about your accident.
“What dentistry procedures would you recommend to replace the tooth? Is implant the best option?”
I assume that the teeth in question are your 2 front teeth? The methods that you can consider to replace your front tooth would be:
- Dental Implant: Most stable and aesthetic if done well, highest longevity if well maintained. However it is costly and there is a need for surgery. (Dental implant costs are Medisave claimable for the surgical component)
- Bridge: Good aesthetics achievable. However, there is a need to shave neighbouring teeth structure to attach the fake tooth onto. There is a higher chance of dislodgement too.
- Denture: Least costly. However, also the least aesthetic. Have to remove and clean nightly/ after meals. Unable to bite as well.
I would suggest for you to get assessed by a dentist first as there are multiple factors to consider before deciding on the best available treatment option eg) your bite pattern, the amount of bone you have at the missing space etc. Implant may not always be the best option, and is not suitable for every patient.
“Also, besides looking better, are there any other benefits of having the tooth replaced?”
Replacing teeth definitely helps in your function too. Your teeth is in a constant state of movement. Thus with a missing space, there is a tendency for neighbouring/ opposing teeth to drift into the space. You might also feel that it is harder to bite on food eg) noodles in your case due to the loss of the front tooth. Speech might also be an issue due to the the ‘leak of air’ through the space.
However if you can live with the above, then I would say there is no real need to replace your teeth.
Dr Marlene Teo, a periodontist at TP Dental, has also written an in-depth article on methods to replace missing teeth. You could check it out here: http://doctorxdentist.com/5-ways-restore-missing-tooth/
Hope this helps!
I'm so sorry this has happened, and I hope you have recovered from your fall.
In the course of my work I have seen so many cases of dental injuries caused by accidental falls and I know how distressing it can be, especially if you have lost a tooth in front.
I really feel for you, and I hope you have already found a good dentist you can trust to restore the missing tooth.
To get straight to your question: "Is a dental implant the best option"?
Well, there is no easy answer to this.
But I would say yes, in most cases, getting a dental implant done to replace a missing tooth would be the best option.
However, there are instances whereby getting a dental implant done may not be the best option because of the following factors:
1. Prohibitively high cost
2. Trauma leading to a significant loss of bone and gum
3. Presence of systemic diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes
4. Presence of uncontrolled gum disease
So it is often too simplistic to say that getting a dental implant done is the best option for everyone.
A good dentist should be able to to diagnose the severity of the injured area and after doing so, he should be able to advise you on the best treatment option that is best suited for your condition.
Dr Joanne Lam described dental bridges and dentures as viable alternatives to dental implants in her earlier reply.
Lastly, I would strongly recommend that you consider replacing the missing tooth to avoid drifting of your teeth, leading to a collapsed bite.
The more teeth you have missing, the more the remaining teeth have to compensate in terms of supporting your bite forces, which may lead to more wear and tear and other problems in the future.
I hope you found the above information useful, and I wish you a speedy recovery!
Dr Gerald Tan