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What is the fastest method to get a permanent tooth replacement? Months, weeks or hours? You will be surprised how far technology has come!

Having a missing tooth in the mouth can be a little embarrassing particularly if it’s a visible one at the front of the jaw. It can also make chewing difficult. When more than one tooth is missing this loss of function can be significant enough to affect the quality of life [1]. This is why patients are keen to find out which permanent teeth replacement method is the fastest.

The fastest way to get a permanent tooth replacement

This is not an easy question to answer without having the specifics of the clinical condition as that can affect the exact duration considerably, however, we will attempt to outline the most common cases.

Dental Bridges

If we assume that the missing tooth has two healthy teeth on either side then the quickest way to get a permanent replacement is a dental bridge [2]. Patients may have had the missing tooth for some time before deciding to go in for a replacement or may be yet to get an extraction.

In the earlier situation, the dentist will evaluate the health of the supporting teeth and can begin the preparation of the bridge on that day itself [3]. Once the impressions are taken and sent to the lab, the final bridge could be inserted in the patient’s mouth as early as within 24 hours.

The beauty of this procedure is that several missing teeth can be replaced in a short time depending upon the kind of supporting teeth available. The disadvantage of this method is that healthy teeth need to be cut which can lead to sensitivity, pain and the need for root canal treatment down the line [4].

If we are speaking purely about time though then speed with which a permanent tooth replacement can be achieved with this method is difficult to beat without any additional surgical procedure involved.

Dental Implants

The conventional method of placing dental implants is one where the implant is placed into the jawbone and then the second stage, where the teeth will be attached to the implant, carried out after a period of 3-6 months [5].

This is not something that is acceptable to most people although temporary crowns can be made to do the job in the meantime [6].

Newer implant techniques and advances in implant design have allowed dentists to be much more aggressive with treatment planning, particularly in cases where there are not too many other complicating factors.

It is now possible to extract a tooth, place the implant at the same time [6] and then attach the final crown to the implant at the same time itself [7]. This is something that is often done for the front teeth of the jaw because the chewing forces that they are subjected to are not too much.

What about people that are wearing dentures and they require fixed permanent teeth? This is a favorable case for dental implants as well because the existing dentures can be adjusted to be attached to the new dentures and increase their stability in the mouth immediately [8].

The implant procedure remains the same as anything else but immediately after the implants are placed something called as locator attachments are placed on top of the implants. These locator attachments have another part which is inserted into the existing denture and so that it can lock onto the implants.

The entire process can be completed in one sitting and thereby leave the patients with permanent teeth within the matter of few hours.

People who are not wearing dentures but require fixed teeth in a short amount of time also have recourse now. The All-on-4 technique can be used to place implants in the upper or lower jaw or even both and then loaded with fixed teeth on the same day [9].

The implants used are longer than usual to gain the maximum amount of bone support and are placed at angles to avoid the need for any bone grafting as well. This technique is growing very popular around the world and people that can afford it walk out with a complete set of fixed teeth after just one single appointment [10].

Conclusion

Making sure that the patient is without a tooth or multiple teeth for the minimum amount of time is a valuable thing, however, it requires a lot of planning beforehand. Care should be taken to not compromise the overall success of the treatment plan in trying to provide teeth in the proverbial instant. When factors align and conditions are favorable, the fastest way to get a permanent tooth replacement is definitely through dental implants.  

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