Normal dental development includes baby teeth falling out to make way for erupting permanent teeth. But permanent teeth don't always erupt and sometimes the lack of eruption is due to the complete lack of the tooth itself. When a tooth is naturally missing, it is called a congenitally absent tooth. Missing canine teeth can cause bite issues.
What are the best and worst ways that a general or cosmetic dentistry office can treat your congenitally absent canine tooth?
Best: Dental Implant
If one canine tooth is the only absent tooth in that region of your mouth, a dental implant is likely the best treatment option. The implant-supported artificial crown looks like a natural tooth and feels fairly natural while you are chewing. You will still want to be careful with the implant tooth and try to use your natural canine for grabbing onto harder foods like apples.
The implant procedure takes a number of months from start to finish. But having a congenitally missing tooth does have one advantage: you've had time to get used to not having a tooth in that position, so waiting a bit for the treatment to finish up might not be as bad for you.
Your cosmetic dentist will start by implanting the bio-safe metal root into a well drilled into your jawbone under where the canine belongs. You will make return visits to the dentist during the healing process so the dentist can monitor the osseointegration – or how successfully the bone is healing around the root to secure the implant in place. Once osseointegration has completed, the crown can be attached.
Best: Implant-Supported Partial
Are you missing a few teeth in the area of the missing canine? Dental implants for each missing tooth might not be an option due to the financials. But an implant-supported partial denture can provide a similar end result with a natural looking canine that still needs to be treated somewhat more gently than a natural canine.
Implant-supported partial dentures start with the same type of root used in a standard dental implant. You will need at least two roots – one on each end of where the plate will fit – in order to properly secure a bigger segment of teeth. Once the roots have completed osseointegration, your denturist can fit your partial dentures.
Partial dentures have a gum-colored rigid plate that sits over the gums. There are artificial teeth across the surface of the plate with places cut out for your natural teeth to stick through where needed. An implant-supported partial plate is often not removable, which means you will need to go to the denturist if you need the plate adjusted. The fixed nature is due to the difficulty in getting the plate properly snapped onto the implants if you were to take the dentures on and off.
Worst: Dental Bridge
Dental bridges have a single full artificial tooth that hangs between to two hollow dental crowns that affix to the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth. Bridges are less stable than implants due to relying on the strength of the natural teeth. But a canine bridge is particularly unstable because the canine is often quite larger than the teeth on either side. Chewing force and the lack of strong support can cause a bridge-supported artificial canine to fail and fall out when you try to eat a hard food.
Talk to a dentist from a company like Milner Dentistry to learn more about these options for canine replacement.