Dentists refer to front teeth as anterior teeth. Anterior teeth comprise any tooth from canine to canine, which in universal notation include tooth numbers 6 to 11 on upper and 22 to 27 on lower. These six teeth in a normal adult dentition are composed of two canines, two laterals and two centrals, one on each side. Front teeth have the anatomic peculiarity that they have only one root and that their main function is to bite off foods (act as incisor teeth). They also have an esthetic function, as these are the teeth the show the most when we smile. For this reason, losing a front tooth can be devastating to some people. Here are three ways you can replace your tooth if this happens.
A bridge: Depending on which tooth needs extraction, we can do a bridge. For example, if you lost an upper lateral, you can replace it using the adjacent central and a canine as retainers. However, since there are esthetic considerations, you might want to also contemplate getting crowns on your other canine, lateral, and central. Remember that beauty is all about symmetry and porcelain sometimes cannot match exactly the color and characterization of natural enamel. This should be considered on a case-by-case basis, but it is a general recommendation.
One or more implants: If you lose a central or a canine, a bridge will be contraindicated. This is because the dentist would have to take a lateral tooth as a retainer, and these have short and weak roots. Therefore, an individual implant would be the most recommended option. Dental implants are a great option for front teeth because they blend with the other teeth more easily than a bridge. They also preserve the bone from long-term bone reabsorption. However, there are also some esthetic considerations with an implant on your front teeth:
- You will be toothless for 4-5 months while the implant heals. This means you will have to wear a removable partial denture or temporary bridge temporarily.
- When your gum heals after the implant surgery, it will be flat. Now, front teeth have an arch-shaped gum. Dentists are able to reshape the gum using a temporary abutment and leaving it there for a few days before starting to work on the final crown over implant. This might entail an extra cost and time investment. Your final crown over implant will be made to match the rest of your teeth.
A removable partial denture: This is possibly the least popular option because it involves using a device that must be removed either at night or during the day for cleaning. These devices are don’t generally present retention problems because they often have concealed hooks to keep them in place. This is nonetheless the cheapest option, ideal when there is a contraindication for any of the above options.
Losing a tooth can be a devastating experience, but it can be aggravated when it is a front tooth. We are the Costa Rica Dental Team, a dental office in Costa Rica. We offer dental treatments with high quality materials at an affordable price, which grants you the opportunity to get the treatment option that best fits your specific needs and preferences. We are located in San Jose, Costa Rica, and we will be happy to guide you to your trip here. We have been giving back smiles to people from all over the US and Canada for more than 12 years. If you are unsure how to start, contact us now!