It could happen to anyone; one single accident can leave you missing one of the valuable teeth right in the front of your mouth, otherwise known as your “smile line”. While this may seem like a helpless situation in the moment, modern dentistry offers plenty of options that will help you get your smile back. If you are wondering what your options are for replacing a front tooth in Oakton, VA or the surrounding areas of Vienna and Fairfax, Oakton Dental Center is here for you. Continue reading for more information on your options before you give us a call.
Saving the Tooth
If you lose a tooth and wish to try to save it, it is important to remember that in this situation, time is of the essence. There is a possibility of saving the tooth, as long as it has come out in once piece rather than fracturing. Pick the tooth up by the crown, avoiding touching the root at all costs. To transport the tooth on the way to the dentist, you have two options; either place the tooth in a cup of milk (never water), or place the tooth back into its socket and bite down on a cloth, napkin, or cotton roll to keep it in place. If you experience uncontrolled bleeding, it may be best simply to bite on something to slow it down and visit the ER.
One of the services offered by most dental professionals is the option of a bridge to replace a missing tooth. A bridge is a three-piece cap that fills the space of the missing tooth by using the two teeth on either side of the gap as anchors. They are one of the more popular options, as it is a fixed (non-removable) option, looks natural, and are a little more cost-effective than the other options. There are a series of steps involved in the process of making a bridge:
- An impression is taken of the area in which the bridge will be placed. A resin material is placed into the reservoir where the missing tooth is. This material hardens into what will be the “temporary bridge”.
- The dentist will shave down the two teeth that will be used as anchors into smaller versions of themselves (this will allow the caps to be placed over the teeth)
- A final impression is taken of the teeth. This impression is wrapped up and sent out to a lab, where the “permanent bridge” is made.
- The temporary bridge is cemented onto the teeth. The patient is asked to take it easy with chewing and flossing in that region until they return in about 2 weeks for their permanent bridge.
- 2 weeks later, the permanent bridge is cemented. This permanent bridge is sturdy, durable, and looks exactly like real teeth. It is as though there was never a gap in the teeth.
An implant is a metal post that is drilled into the bone to ensure what is usually a lifetime guarantee, given that the patient does not experience bone loss in their lifetime. A “crown”, or cap that looks very much like a natural tooth, is placed on top of the metal post. There is usually a 3 month healing period needed before the permanent crown is placed onto the implant, though most patients are given a temporary crown to fill the space while they heal, so there is usually no worries about having a gap remain in the teeth. While dentists usually favor this option for replacing a missing tooth, there are two major things that usually deter people from choosing them. One is price; the average implant costs around $3,000-$4,000, and they are usually not covered by insurance, as they are considered to serve more of an aesthetic purpose overall. The other issue with implants is that in order to have one placed, patients must be examined by an oral surgeon to determine if they are candidates. Signs of bone loss usually mean that implants are not an option.
While this is usually not a first option for most people, it is the most cost-effective. A partial denture, otherwise known as a “flipper” when replacing one or two of the front teeth, is a removable acrylic plate that replaces a missing tooth. Most people choose not to go forward with this option, as it can be an annoyance to worry about a removable denture. However, it is a great option for those who cannot afford to pay too much to replace their missing tooth, and in most cases, the difference between the false tooth and a natural tooth is usually undetectable.
With this new information in mind, you will be better equipped to discuss your treatment options with the dental professionals at Oakton Dental Center, servicing Oakton, Fairfax, and Vienna, VA. Give us a call at (703) 938-3405 for more information or to get scheduled for an appointment.