So you’ve lost a tooth, now what??

I know we took a break last week from the usual dental information to learn more about Kaylie, but now it’s back to it!  If you recall, we had just discussed what happens when you have a tooth pulled.  Well now what?  What are your options now that you have a big gap where a tooth used to be??  At you’re West Seattle dentist, Dr. Christine Kirchner, she will usually present three options to you and give you the pros and cons of each option.  This is, of course, dependent on many factors.  If she doesn’t feel like all three options are ethically and medically a good choice for you, she may present fewer options.

You can either:

  1. Do nothing.  Just have a space where your tooth used to be.
  2. Have a bridge done.  This is dependent on the location of the gap and the health of the teeth around the gap
  3. Have an implant done.  This option is dependent on the health of the bone that the tooth just came out of.

Today we’ll be discussing what each option is, with future posts further explaining what each procedure entails.  You can always decide to have nothing done.  The danger in this option is this:  Teeth want to touch each other.  If they aren’t touching each other, they will move to touch each other.  If you leave the gap, the teeth on either side of the gap will start to drift and tip down into the gap and the tooth above or below the gap will usually start to grow up/down into the gap in its attempt to try to touch something.  So basically what I’m trying to say is all your teeth, or at least the ones around the gap, will start moving around if you leave it.  Obviously, this is the cheapest option.

west seattle dentistThe second option is having a bridge done.  With this option what happens is Dr. Kirchner would get the teeth on either side of the gap ready for crowns.  When the crowns come back from the lab, you’ll see that they aren’t two individual crowns, they have a third tooth stuck in between them!  Voila!  You’re missing tooth has returned!  This option is usually cheaper than an implant at the outset, but even if it is well taken care of, a bridge usually has to be replaced every 10 years.  You also can’t floss in between the real tooth and the missing tooth.  You have to thread your floss under the bridge to get gunk out.  And if you want your bridge to last longer than shorter, it is VERY NECESSARY to floss under the bridge.

west seattle dentist

The third option is having an implant done.  When you get an implant, a titanium post is placed in the bone where they missing tooth was.  Think of it like a screw anchor in a wall.  Why titanium?  It’s the metal that is most bio-compatible with your body (read: your body won’t reject it!).  Once it has had time to heal, a porcelain tooth is screwed into the implant.  Voila!  Your missing tooth has returned!  This option is usually more expensive than a bridge at the outset, but if you properly take care of it, meaning floss around it (because you will be able to floss around this like a normal tooth) it should last you your whole life!

Which option will you choose?  Come back next week to check out what exactly goes into making a bridge, and all the pros and cons of choosing this option!

Don’t want to wait till next week? Give the office a call today and Dr. Kirchner will discuss and explain the options that are right for you!

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Have you entered our contest yet to win an absolutely no strings attached free in-office teeth whitening session?  If you haven’t, you should!  Couple of ways to enter:

Click here to go to our Facebook page and enter there

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Leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite summer vacation memory.  Keep it G rated!

The contest ends September 13, 2012 at midnight PDT.  Good luck!


  1. Stefanie

    we played on the boat one day! the water was actually warm and not freezing cold!

  2. Jennifer Dempsey

    Swimming in the creek in West Virginia