If one of your permanent teeth in the back never came in after you lost your baby tooth, your dentist likely told your parents to wait to fix the problem after you have stopped growing. This is because the jaw growth must be complete before the dentist can fill that area in. Now that you are an adult, your dentist can use different techniques to fill in this space, two of which are listed below.
Dental implants are the most common procedure used to replace teeth. This is a very good option because the implants will likely last you throughout your lifetime, and if not, for most of it. The implants are generally made of titanium. This is because titanium is accepted by the body and provides a very sturdy and strong foundation for the implant. Once the dentist places the implant into the empty space, the bone surrounding the implant will attach itself to the implant, which locks the implant firmly in place.
To be a good candidate for dental implants, your gums have to be healthy, and you need to have the proper bone structure so the implant will stay in place. If you have a problem with bruxism, known as grinding your teeth, the chances of the implant being successful greatly decreases. If you often drink alcoholic beverages or smoke, the dentist will likely tell you that dental implants are not a good option.
A fixed bridge is another option for you if you do not want to get a dental implant. The bridge is attached to the teeth that surround the empty space. The teeth are like anchors that secure the bridge. Fixed bridges are often made of ceramic or porcelain because both of these materials can be made to match the color of your teeth.
There are some drawbacks of choosing a fixed bridge over a dental implant. During the procedure, the dentist has to grind away the healthy teeth that are adjacent to the bridge. This is because these teeth must be reduced in size so that the bridge fits properly. Once the teeth are reduced, the dentist takes an impression to make a mold for the bridge. The impression is then sent to a dental lab to be made. While you are waiting for the permanent bridge to be ready by the lab, the dentist will put a temporary bridge in your mouth. When ready, the dentist cements the new bridge in the empty space.
Talk with your dentist about these two options, as they can give you detailed information about them.