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MISSING TEETH

Missing Single Tooth

Is a missing tooth messing with your smile and your bite?

Depending on where it is in the mouth, a single missing tooth can affect your smile, make it harder to chew and lead to bone loss and orthodontic problems.

There are basically four options to replace a single missing tooth. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of each option.

Solution #1 Dental Implants

Is there a “Best” way to replace missing teeth?

Dental Implants are the gold standard for replacing missing teeth and it’s easy to understand why. Dental implants are the most natural looking tooth replacement. They keep their good looks and they last. Dental implants are also the most functional tooth replacement.

Patients who have been used to removable teeth or bridges are amazed by their new biting power and love that implants are strong enough to handle chewing like real teeth. No more anxious chewing.

The down side of implants is that the technology and complexity involved in implants means that implants both take more time to complete and cost more than other tooth replacement options.

Why are dental implants so strong, long lasting and beautiful?

Simple. No More Bone Loss! Implants are the only tooth replacement option that stop bone loss. The can stop bone loss because they’re also the only option that replaces the tooth root as well as the crown and chewing surface. That artificial tooth root is the key. It makes the implants strong like natural teeth. It keeps the bone and gums happy and healthy, and it keeps the tooth looking beautiful long term. Thanks to the strength of implant roots, dental implant teeth are the strongest teeth in the mouth enabling you to chew anything you crave, from apples to beef jerky!

How do implants stop bone loss?

Implants replace a missing tooth with both a visible tooth and a bone-integrated implant root. Because they are anchored directly into the bone, they don’t require any cementation to neighboring teeth like bridges do. Not only does this protect the neighboring teeth, it means that the strength of the implant is dependent on the strength of the bone, not on the strength of a cement. Bone is always stronger.

Imagine Never Getting Another Cavity!

Another major advantage of dental implant teeth is that they cannot ever get a cavity! Made from zirconium oxide, implant teeth aren’t vulnerable to the bacteria and acid that wear down our natural teeth. This keeps them looking and chewing great – even when natural teeth would be rotting away.

Actual Patient

Put the teeth back in your smile! Click below to learn more

Implants

Implants: A Royal Opportunity

For thousands of years, people have been trying to find a functional way to replace lost teeth.

Solution #2 Conventional Bridge

Looking for an option that is natural looking, fixed and stable?

Conventional Bridges are the second best way to replace missing teeth. Bridges are a quality restoration that look very natural for a long time. They are also fixed in place and don’t have the stigma or mobility of a partial denture. Conventional Bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth. In fact, bridges were dentistry’s gold standard for replacing a missing tooth until Dental Implants came around.

How did conventional bridges lose their gold standard status?

Bridges are no longer the standard of care for four reasons.

  1. Bridges require cutting down neighboring teeth to act as anchor crowns to hold the bridge in place.
  2. Bridges don’t replace the tooth root like implants do.
  3. Bridges trap food.
  4. Bridges are harder to clean

Is cutting down neighboring teeth always a bad idea?

No, crowning the neighboring teeth is not always a bad idea. Turning the neighboring teeth into anchor crowns is acutally a good idea if those teeth already need crowns; however, it is NOT a good idea if the teeth don’t need crowns. Why? Healthy teeth that have been cut down into crowns are more vulnerable. Ideally, healthy teeth should always be left alone and intact.

Why is not replacing the tooth root an issue?

Tooth roots are what anchor both teeth AND bone. Roots keep teeth stable and give biting power. Roots also keep bone and gum tissue at healthy levels surrounding a tooth.
Because bridges don’t replace tooth roots they have some limitations:

  • They can’t provide the same biting power and stability as implants.
  • They get weaker over time as biting pressure stresses the roots of the bridge’s anchor teeth.
  • They cannot maintain bone levels or gum esthetics as long as an implant.
  • With no root, the bone slowly dissolves away from the bridge creating a gap between the gums and the false bridge tooth.

Bridges Do What?

A bridge fills the space left by missing teeth with a false tooth, called a pontic. This “tooth” is just the white crown part of the tooth that we see above the gums. Because this replacement tooth doesn’t have a root anchoring it to the bone, there is a space between the tooth and the gums. This space becomes a food trap. Left uncleaned, it can cause bad breath and infections.

Bridges are long lasting… if they’re kept clean

The average lifespan of a well-maintained conventional bridge is 10-15 years. What does “well maintained” mean? It means keeping all the bridge teeth clean, both all around and underneath. This requires brushing two times a day and flossing with both regular floss and a special flossing tool. Why does this matter? A long lasting bridge requires healthy gum and bone. The tricky part of keeping things clean is accessing the area under the bridge. Some patients choose flossers to reach the area under the bridge. Others use waterpiks, tiny floss brushes, or special flosses like SuperFloss.

Put the teeth back in your smile! Click below to learn more

Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry: When Fillings Aren’t Enough

Crowns, Bridges & Dentures Repair Major Dental Problems

Solution #3 Maryland Bridge

What’s the least expensive way to replace a missing tooth with a functional, fixed one?

Maryland Bridges are the least expensive way of replacing one tooth with a false tooth that is fixed in place and non-removable.  

This Bridge Has Wings

This kind of bridge stays in place thanks to its “wings” that are fitted and cemented to the neighboring teeth. Because these wings depend entirely on cement bonding to stay in place, Maryland bridges are not as functional as conventional bridges nor do they last as long. Like a conventional bridge, a Maryland Bridges requires shaving down the neighboring teeth on the back sides in order to hold the bridge in place. With a Maryland Bridge, bone loss continues in the jaw in the spot where the original tooth was taken out. You can expect a well made Maryland Bridge to last between five and ten years, but not longer since the force of chewing will eventually loosen the bridge wings holding it in place.

Solution #4 The Partial Denture or Flipper

What’s the cheapest way possible to replace a single missing tooth?

A one-tooth Partial Denture, also called a Flipper, is the least expensive way possible to replace a missing tooth.

If partials are cheap, why aren’t they more popular?

Great question.
Partials DO fill the gap left by a lost tooth. They aren’t popular though because they’re hard to chew with and uncomfortable. And the list could go on…

Other patient complaints about partials include the following:

  • Partials don’t stop bone loss.
  • Partials are uncomfortable when they move and rock during chewing.
  • They irritate the gums because they place all the pressure of chewing on the gums.
  • Partials trap food and cause bad breath.
  • It’s a pain taking a partial out every night for cleaning.
  • One tooth partials “aren’t worth the trouble!”

Are We the Right Dentist for You? Maybe. Maybe Not.

It can be frustrating finding a dentist, can’t it? Every dentist claims to be the best. You want one that accepts your insurance. You don’t want treatment shoved down your throat… Ughh…

If you’re wondering how to know which dentist is right for you, here’s a tip: figure out what matters most to you in a dentist and find one whose website and office team talks about those things. Do you value affordability, comfort, expertise, flexibility, speed…?

At Alamo Dental Health, our values can be summed up in our Expertise & Comfort Guarantee. Are we a good fit for you? Only if our values align. Keep reading and decide for yourself.

Our Expertise and Comfort Guarantee means that you’re never our guinea pig. To us, expertise means completing advanced post-doctoral training in a treatment area. So far, Dr. Bec has completed more than 1,000 hours of specialized training in addition to dental school. If you find it on our website under “Services,” we do it with expertise. If not, we find another dentist with the needed expertise to do it for you.

Our guarantee also means that we’re 100% committed to your comfort at every appointment. Why? Because Expertise & Comfort go hand in hand.

Our guarantee means that we set high standards for technology, quality-made materials and technical training. It means that we refuse to partner with dental labs or suppliers whose standards and values don’t meet ours.

People who hear about our Expertise and Comfort Guarantee usually ask if we’re also committed to affordability. Absolutely! Our commitment to affordability means we’re never the most expensive in town, and our commitment to Expertise and Comfort means we won’t be the cheapest either.

So are we the dental office for you? Maybe. We invite you to keep exploring our website. Maybe even stop by our office in the San Antonio Medical Center and meet us in person! We’d love to meet you.

As a patient, if you want your dental experience to match your expectations, it’s crucial to choose a dentist whose health values line up with yours. Why? Because trust isn’t something you can download from a website like a coupon.

Put the teeth back in your smile! Click below to learn more

Implant Dentistry

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Bridges

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Partial Dentures

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Our Happy Clients

High Level of Care

I came to Alamo Dental Health because of Groupon but will be making them "my dentist" because of the level of care. The doctor and staff were thorough and professional; I felt they cared for me as a person and a patient. After dentist hopping for the last two years I am glad to have found Alamo Dental Health. I highly recommend them!

Missy H.

5.0
2019-03-19T19:23:06-05:00

Missy H.

I came to Alamo Dental Health because of Groupon but will be making them "my dentist" because of the level of care. The doctor and staff were thorough and professional; I felt they cared for me as a person and a patient. After dentist hopping for the last two years I am glad to have found Alamo Dental Health. I highly recommend them!

Great Staff

Great staff, and the dentist was nice and thorough. They also have modern equipment and technique. Great experience for my first visit.

Michael P.

5.0
2019-03-19T19:23:39-05:00

Michael P.

Great staff, and the dentist was nice and thorough. They also have modern equipment and technique. Great experience for my first visit.

Friendly and Courteous Service

Dr Bec and his staff are Awesome. Dr. Bec's patience and understanding help the patient relax prior to to procedure. Friendly and courteous service always.

Irma Y.

5.0
2019-03-19T19:24:25-05:00

Irma Y.

Dr Bec and his staff are Awesome. Dr. Bec's patience and understanding help the patient relax prior to to procedure. Friendly and courteous service always.
5
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