Most often, dental implants are used to replace teeth that are lost, either to decay, gum disease, or trauma. But dental implants
can also be used to replace teeth that never developed. These congenitally missing teeth never matured to replace the deciduous teeth (“baby teeth”).
In some cases, the deciduous teeth may hang around for a while. In other cases, the deciduous teeth may fall out pretty much according to schedule, leaving a gap.
There are several options for filling this gap, but dental implants are often the best.
Preparing the Site
One of the challenges of using a dental implant in this situation is making sure the site is suitable for a dental implant. Hopefully, you’re working with a dentist and orthodontist to make sure you’ve managed the space left by a missing tooth. Otherwise, we may need to use orthodontics now to help create the space for the dental implant.
Even more important is making sure there’s enough jawbone to support the dental implant. This may require a bone graft. However, proper orthodontic management of your teeth can help build up the bone so that there’s enough sturdy bone to support the dental implant.
Once the site is prepared, the dental implant is placed as usual, and when the process is finished, no one will likely be able to tell that you were ever missing a tooth.
Other Treatment Options
Dental implants aren’t the only approach to treating this problem. Orthodontics alone can be used for treatment. The teeth you have are simply moved into the places left by missing teeth. In the most common version of this, your canine is moved into a place left by an absent lateral incisor. Because the canine is often a different shape, it may have to be reshaped to look like an incisor. But this process has the advantage of being available even before a child’s jaw has finished growing, unlike dental implants, which have to wait until jaw growth is finished.
Another option is a dental bridge, which has all the benefits and disadvantages of your typical bridge. It has to be supported by your natural teeth, and it has to bear excess force, which can lead to failure. Often in this case we might recommend a less invasive bridge that is bonded to your natural teeth to serve as a placeholder. That way you have a false tooth until you can get a dental implant, without sacrificing natural, healthy tooth structure.
An even more basic form of this option is the partial denture, which isn’t fixed in place but can still serve the purpose.
Do You Want to Replace a Missing Tooth?
No matter the reason why you’re missing a tooth, dental implants make a great replacement option. To learn whether you’re a candidate for dental implants in Rochester, NY, please call (585) 244-3337 today for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Contemporary Dentistry.