Modern American Dentistry
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Tooth Replacement Options in Woodland Hills and Manhattan Beach, CA

May 18, 2017
Posted By: Gabe Adorjan
Open space between teeth before dental implant

If you've been putting off replacing your missing tooth, our team at Modern American Dentistry strongly suggests that you speak with a dental professional at our offices to learn more about your tooth replacement options in the Woodland Hills and Manhattan Beach areas.

There are only three ways to replace missing teeth. Your fixed options (is not removed by you daily) are implants and bridges and your removable options are partials and dentures.

There are pros and cons to each tooth replacement option:


Dental bridges have been around for many many years. They are a tried and true option for tooth replacement. They involve regular crowns that attach to teeth on both sides of the missing space (these are called abutment teeth) and a fake tooth in the middle (called a pontic). These pieces are connected and made out of one solid piece. The bridge itself can be traditional involving the use of metal for strength and porcelain on top for beauty or they can be entirely made out of solid porcelain such as Zirconia.
  • Bridges are traditionally covered by most insurance companies.
  • They can typically be made in about two weeks.
  • At the day of the initial appointment, you walk out of our office with a temporary that replaces the missing tooth. There is no waiting.
  • The adjacent (abutment) teeth have to be shaved down so that crowns can be placed on them to hold the fake tooth (pontic).
  • Since the whole thing is one piece, flossing is a bit more difficult. You have to use something called a floss threader to pull the floss under the fake tooth (pontic) and the surrounding area. 
  • A bridge typically needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years due to cavities under the bridge.

Dentures and Partials

When you think of dentures people typically imagine this ugly, fake-looking piece of plastic sitting on your grandparents' nightstand. With advances in technology and materials dentures can look amazingly real!!! The difference between a denture and a partial is that dentures replace all teeth in an arch and partials only replace some. Typically it is metal and acrylic that are used to construct dentures and partials. The metal is used for strength with acrylic added on top to mimic gums and teeth. Denture/Partial teeth can look very realistic and the gums can actually be hand-carved and painted to look very life-like.
  • Dentures and partials are the most economical options for tooth replacement.
  • Your investment is the same regardless of how many teeth are replaced.
  • When there are so many broken down teeth that it is difficult to eat and you stopped smiling a long time ago, this is the fastest way to instantly restore a smile.
  • Chewing efficiency is significantly reduced with anything removable.
  • Wearing dentures is like wearing flip-flops. You curl your toes to keep them on. Keeping lower dentures in places requires acrobatics from the muscles in your mouth.

Dental Implants

Implants are the Cadillac of tooth replacement. Titanium screws act as a root replacement and are implanted into the bone. After an initial period of healing (typically 3 to 6 months) the implant is restored with a beautiful porcelain crown. There are three parts to an implant. The implant itself, the abutment, and the crown. The implant sits entirely in bone. Another part is needed to transition through the gum, into the mouth. This gives us something to glue the crown onto. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch of teeth. 
  • In contrast to the bridge option, the adjacent (abutment) teeth do not need to be touched. The single missing tooth can be replaced without touching any other teeth.
  • Implants do not decay. Since there is no natural tooth structure the crown never needs to be replaced due to a cavity.
  • Implants help preserve bone. After a tooth is pulled the bone disappears where the tooth used to be. Replacing the root with an implant helps preserve the bone
  • Implants are initially more costly than other tooth replacement options.
  • Unlike bridges and partials, the amount of bone present can affect our ability to be able to place an implant. 
  • There is a healing period (called osseointegration) where you have to be without a tooth while the body is working on healing around the implant. 
If you live in the Woodland Hills or Manhattan Beach areas and you have been considering replacing that missing tooth, it is a great time to call our office for a consultation!
You can learn more about missing teeth at this FAQ.
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