Problems with missing or damaged teeth affect your confidence, bite, and overall health. If you’ve decided that it’s finally time to perfect your smile, start by choosing a dentist with whom you feel comfortable. Ask questions about the dentist’s treatment philosophy and experience. Determine whether the dentist stays up to date by reading periodicals such as the journal of clinical dentistry.
Veneers are thin wafers of porcelain placed on the front of the tooth. A small amount of enamel has to be removed to help the veneer adhere to the tooth. The shade is carefully matched to the rest of your teeth. They can last 10 years or more if you take good care of them.
A bridge holds a false tooth in place, anchored by the adjacent tooth. This option may be chosen if there is not enough bone structure to allow for placement of a dental implant. The bridge effectively keeps teeth from shifting into the gap created by a missing tooth.
With bonding, the dentist places resin material on a damaged tooth and shapes it to cover cracks, chips, or provide additional height. The material is hardened in place with a light. The durability of this treatment depends on the stresses placed on the tooth during chewing. If you are a habitual tooth grinder, the treatment may not last as long.
Dental implants are screw-like posts placed in the jawbone to replace natural tooth roots. Over time, the bone grows around the post and forms a secure bond. A crown is placed on top to replace the tooth. Implants are very durable and a popular choice for missing teeth.
Ask your dentist about these options. Make sure that you are comfortable with the treatment plan proposed. Once you have signed the consent form, comply with all instructions. Within a few months, you’ll enjoy a new smile.