Everyone sees your front teeth whenever you smile, so having one go missing can be quite traumatic! Thankfully, you don't have to keep smiling with a closed mouth to avoid embarrassment. There are several different options for replacing a missing front tooth. Here's a look.
A Removable Denture
Also known as a "flipper," a removable denture is similar to a retainer with a false tooth on it. You can pop it into your mouth when you get up in the morning, and then remove it at night before you go to bed. Though there may be a wire or two visible when you smile (depending on the placement of your teeth and your dentist's recommendations), this is better than having a missing tooth!
A removable denture is a low-cost tooth replacement option that does not require any surgery or discomfort. The downside is that over time, your remaining teeth can shift, altering the fit of the denture. For this reason, dentists usually only recommend flippers as short-term replacement options until you're ready to commit to one of the other options on this list.
A bridge is a false tooth that attaches (permanently) to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. Typically, the tooth is made from ceramic -- so it blends right in with your real teeth. Bridges can typically be applied in one or two appointments, and the process is painless.
The only downside to bridges is that they can place excess strain on the remaining teeth to which they are attached. If these teeth are not in great shape, your dentist may recommend against getting a bridge.
A Dental Implant
Dental implants are considered the premier tooth replacement option. They consist of a metal, screw-like device that is surgically planted into your jaw bone, plus a ceramic crown that is attached to this metal screw. The finished implant looks just like a normal tooth. Its presence helps keep the remaining teeth from shifting in your jaw bone. You care for it just like a normal tooth -- with proper brushing and flossing -- and you won't have any dietary restrictions.
The downside to dental implants is that they are surgically implanted. There will be some discomfort involved, and you'll spend a few months healing.
To learn more about these tooth replacement options, speak to your dentist. There's no reason to go on living with a missing front tooth when there's such a variety of ways to replace it. For more information, contact companies like Byron C Scott, DMD - Springhill Dental Health Center.