The teeth referred to as the "two front teeth" are the central incisors. On each side of these central teeth are the lateral incisors. The lateral incisors help both the central incisors and the neighboring canines to grab onto food and start the chewing process. Loss of a lateral incisor due to trauma or decay can make chewing far more difficult and can pose cosmetic concerns due to the prominent position of these teeth.

If you are facing extraction of a lateral incisor, there are a few dental replacement options you can discuss with your cosmetic dentistry specialist. The best replacement option is a highly personalized decision but also involves the stability, durability, and treatment time of the replacement option.

Dental Implant: Stable, Durable, Long Treatment

Dental implants have an artificial tooth crown made of porcelain that snaps onto a metal root that your dentist will insert directly into your jawbone. The bone will heal around that root in a process called osseointegration and hold the root firmly in place. This setup makes dental implants one of the more natural looking and feeling dental replacement options on the market.

But all of those pros come with one major con: long treatment time. The process of implanting the root and allowing the bone to heal can take months, which means you will be left with an empty tooth hole during that period. There are same day implants available that are, as the name suggests, completed in one visit. But those implants are at a risk of failing and falling out if the bone would fail to heal properly.  

Bridge: Stable, Removable, Pressure Vulnerable

A bridge utilizes an artificial tooth crown that hangs between dental crowns or shells positioned on either side. The dental crown shells will be bonded to the exterior of the natural teeth on either side of the lateral incisor – meaning the canine and the central incisor.

Dental bridges are stable though not as natural feeling as a dental implant since the central tooth isn't attached to your jawbone. But the bridge is removable without significant damage to the neighboring teeth, which means a bridge can be a stop-gap solution if you can't get a different type of replacement right now due to time or money constraints.

The main potential problem is the amount of bite force that the bridge will be subjected to, which can cause the crowns to start to fail over time. But this would not be a major concern if the bridge was only meant as a temporary solution. Contact a dentist, such as Four Corners Dental Group Fairbanks, for more information.