Dentists usually try to preserve existing teeth as much as possible, but sometimes a tooth extraction is the best solution to a serious oral health issue. Teeth that require extraction include those that are:
- Severely decayed
- Fractured from a traumatic injury
- Suffering from an unsuccessful root canal
- Infected due to advanced periodontal disease
But extraction is just the first step to restoring both your smile and oral health. Filling the gap the tooth left behind is an important next step.
What happens to the gap after tooth extraction?
Immediately following a tooth extraction, our dentist will suture the empty socket until you decide what to do about the gap—but doing nothing can lead to a variety of oral health issues. The teeth adjacent to the gap will eventually shift toward each other, resulting in crooked teeth and a misaligned bite, which makes cleaning and flossing more difficult and can even make it difficult to chew food. In some cases, the neighboring teeth will “super erupt,” which is when the tooth itself grows to try and fill the gap because there is nothing there to stop it. In the most severe cases, your bite can shift in a way that strains the jaw joints and causes TMJ disorders. Fortunately, there are options available to fill the gap from a tooth extraction.
Option 1: Dental implants
Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. Not only do they look, feel and function like natural teeth, but the strong titanium screw that serves as an anchor in your jawbone will also prevent bone deterioration. Dental implants involve the titanium screw, an abutment that attaches the screw, and a porcelain dental crown topping the abutment. In a dental implant procedure, you’ll have the screw implanted first, and after the jawbone fuses to it over the course of a few months, the customized, color-matched prosthetic crown will be attached.
While dental implants are the strongest and most durable option for teeth replacement, they also have the higher up-front cost. However, because implants last for decades, they become cost-effective over time compared to restorations that must be replaced on occasion.
Option 2: Dental bridge
Dental bridges can replace a single tooth or a few teeth in a row, and there are two ways they can be used to replace missing teeth. Permanent, implant-supported bridges use a single dental implant to anchor the prosthetic teeth that will fill the gaps. Another option involves removable bridges that are secured to the existing teeth adjacent to the gap. The teeth are filed down to fit prosthetic crowns that are fused to the gap-filling tooth, creating a “bridge” of teeth that will keep your bite and alignment intact.
Dental bridges have the advantage of being a relatively quick fix for missing teeth. After an initial appointment to take impressions or 3D images of the area to be restored, the entire bridge can be installed in one dental appointment.
Option 3: Dentures
Dentures are an inexpensive, quick restoration solution whether you need to replace a single tooth or a full arch or mouth of teeth. For one or a few missing teeth in a row, partial dentures involve a plastic base that matches the color of your gums—similar to a retainer—with natural-looking prosthetic teeth attached. The denture clasps to your natural teeth, which makes it a less stable and durable option, though it is relatively easy to clean.
Full dentures involve prosthetic gums and teeth in one piece that must be attached to your gums with specialized dental adhesives. While they are the most cost-effective way to replace a full arch or full mouth of teeth, they can make talking and eating difficult. Another downside is that they do not prevent your jawbone from deteriorating. However, there is a denture/implant hybrid to consider, in which a full arch of prosthetic teeth is anchored in place with a few strategically-placed implant screws. This will not only make them more sturdy, but it will also help keep your jawbone healthy.
Affordable teeth replacement options in Tijuana
If you need a tooth extraction and bone graft at an affordable price and you want the best restoration option for your budget and lifestyle, BioDental Care in Tijuana offers superior dental services at much lower dental prices compared to U.S.-based dentists. For more information or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at (619) 754-8508.