When you’re young, you have other things to worry about than your teeth. No one believes, when they’re in the prime of their lives, that someday they’ll fall apart — and it usually starts with the teeth. You lose one, and all of a sudden you have a decision to make.
Unless you’re willing to go through life looking like a jack-o-lantern, you should know what options there are, just in case. Dentists understand why you should fill that gap, and it’s not just about looks.
Teeth can fall out for so many reasons — decay, weak gums, and accidents, to name a few — but there are ways you can hold onto your teeth longer.
- Regular check-ups can help you monitor the health of your teeth. Your dentist will identify any teeth that may need attention.
- Regular brushing and flossing are a no-brainer, but you have to be dedicated to keeping your oral health in tip top shape.
- Avoid hard candy and sugar. You are what you eat, and if you don’t eat healthy foods, your teeth won’t be healthy either.
- Wear protective mouth guards when playing contact sports.
Bridging the Gap with a Bridge
A bridge is an appliance that is placed in your mouth to fill the space left from a missing tooth. A false tooth is placed in the space, secured to the teeth on either side. The fake tooth is called a pontic and the teeth it’s secured to are called abutments or retainers.
Bridges are considered a major dental service. You must send an estimate to your insurance provider before committing to this treatment, as it will impact your yearly maximum. It will be paid at a certain percentage, or it may not be covered at all.
Bridges are costly, and you certainly don’t want to be paying for one out of pocket if you can help it.
What About Dentures?
Unlike bridges, dentures can be removed from your mouth for cleaning (or scaring children). A full denture will replace all the teeth in either your upper or lower mouth. A full set of dentures will replace all your teeth. A partial can replace one or several teeth, and be removed at night, while a flipper partial can be flipped out of place and used as needed.
Like bridges, dentures are considered a major dental service and will be subject to your annual maximum and be paid at a certain percentage, if they are indeed covered. You must send an estimate to your insurance provider to determine coverage.
Dentures are cheaper than bridges, but can fill the gap effectively. Your dentist can help you decide what’s best.
Implants – The Cadillac of Gap Fillings!
If your dentist suggests that you would be a suitable candidate for dental implants, do your research first before committing. Implants are an intense treatment which requires several visits to the dentist or surgeon to complete.
According to the Canadian Dental Association, the gap in your mouth gets fitted with an artificial root, which is basically a socket that a false tooth is screwed into. Your first visit involves placing the socket in the jawbone, deep in your gums.
After the initial treatment has healed, which can take several months, an artificial tooth is installed into the implant. If you are replacing several teeth (or even all of them) a bridge or denture can be attached to those implants, making them unmoveable.
Implants are ideal in many cases, but unfortunately many plans will not cover them. If your dentist recommends any type of dental implant, you must send an estimate to your dental insurance provider first to ensure coverage.
Accidental dental is the repair or replacement of natural teeth caused by a blow to the mouth. There are strict time frames and procedures for claiming a dental accident. A pre-treatment plan, accident report and x-rays must be submitted to your insurer prior to treatment.
As with any major dental treatment, you will want to find out beforehand whether it is covered. Contact your dental insurance provider to find out if your plan is subject to this clause.
Missing teeth, especially in the front of the mouth, can be embarrassing. Not only that, you can’t really chew when you don’t have any teeth! There’s no reason for you to accept this fate for life. Contact your insurance provider and find out today what your plan covers and if you can fix that gap!