Loss of teeth due to decay or trauma can impact your daily life for both physical and cosmetic reasons. If you've lost one or more premolars, you will want to discuss your potential dental replacement options with a team of dentists or denturists to find the best fit for you.
Most of your teeth play an important role in chewing. The incisors are the front four teeth located between the canines on the top and bottom jaw. The canines grab the food while the incisors cut. Two premolars are located on the opposite side of the canines from the incisors. So you have eight premolars in all situated in groupings of two. And those premolars play an important role in both holding and chewing food in your mouth.
What are the dental replacement options that will best help you retain your chewing ability?
A dental bridge will likely be one of the first replacement options discussed due to the relatively low cost and the ability for the bridge to replace one or both premolars in a pairing. The dental bridge does require healthy teeth on either side of the missing premolars, however, to bond properly into place.
In a dental bridge procedure, your dentist will create custom-fit, tooth-colored crowns that will bond over the natural teeth on each side of the gap. A dental appliance between these crowns will hold artificial teeth suspended in place. The end result is stable for eating but won't feel the same as natural teeth because there's no root structure tying those teeth to the jawbone.
A more stable alternative to a bridge are dental implants. Your dentist will surgically implant a metal tooth root into your jawbone. You will then have to wait until the jawbone and tissue grow around the root and fuse it into place. At that point, an artificial tooth crown can be snapped into place over each root.
The bone-based stability of dental implants give these replacements one of the most natural-feeling chewing sensations. On the downside, implants are also one of the more costly treatment options. But the price might prove well worth it if you care about chewing ability over all else.
If you're missing more teeth in a section other than your premolars, a denturist might recommend partial dentures, which are also called overlay dentures.
Artificial teeth are created and fused to a plate. The base of the plate fits down where there are missing teeth while there are clip-like loops on each end to hold the plate into place using natural teeth as the anchor. The end result is more stable than traditional full dentures but less stable than implants. But partial dentures are a great solution if you have multiple missing teeth, which can't be solved with bridges, or can't afford dental implants. (For more information on dentures, contact Owen Sound Denture Clinic or another practice)