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Before Tooth Replacement, Plan Your Treatment

Before you have your first tooth replacement, you and your dentist should develop a master plan for your mouth. The goal is to foresee your long-term dental needs and choose prostheses that will look attractive, feel comfortable, and function well.

First, you’ll need to take into account the number of natural teeth you have and their condition. Also look at the health of your gums, the strength of the supporting bone, and your ability to maintain good oral hygiene. Other factors to consider are your age and general health, the complexity of the restoration procedure, and the cost of the prosthetic devices.

Your dentist should extract any “hopeless” teeth and fill any cavities before starting the replacement work. Also, your dentist should check for gum disease and perform any necessary root canal therapy. These steps are crucial to the success of fixed bridges; the stability of the replacement depends on the presence of sound teeth to use as abutments or anchors.

Before you commit to any sort of replacement device, be aware of the potential hazards involved. Preparing the mouth for dentures or bridges may damage the teeth or gums or exacerbate existing problems. Over the long term, you run the risk of complications, such as bridges that break or come loose, failure of the bone to heal around an implant, decay or gum disease around the replacement, a decline in the appearance of the prosthesis over time, and difficulty cleaning or maintaining the replacement. Finally, the cost for replacements varies, depending on whether you need a single crown or a mouthful of implants. Despite these drawbacks, the value of having a set of sound teeth is hard to overestimate.


Source: Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums. Copyright © by Harvard University. All rights reserved.

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