We’ve talked about peg laterals and how sometimes teeth come in small, or the adult teeth don’t come in to replace baby teeth. But what about when your lateral incisors (those on either side of the central pair) don’t come in at all? There are many options to replace these missing teeth.

Canine Substitution

One of the things that can be done to replace the missing lateral is called “canine substitution.” Basically, this is when orthodontics are used to move your teeth around to close the gap. This moves the canine teeth forward to substitute for the missing lateral.

This is better than having a gap in the teeth, but depending on the size and shape of your canine tooth, you may not be happy with the appearance of the result.

Dental Bridges

Another option is to have a dental bridge placed. The bridge will be supported by the central incisor and the canine. The advantage of this is that it really does look like a natural tooth. Modern dental bridges don’t have any wires or any other visible sign that they are bridges.

The disadvantage of this approach is that a dental bridge doesn’t stimulate the jawbone or support the gums. This means that the body might remove bone, allowing the gums to reduce in size, which could be a major problem in this highly visible area.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the best option for replacing missing laterals. The dental implant becomes your replacement tooth, with an artificial root sunk down into the jawbone and an aesthetic crown that can be designed using advanced cosmetic dentistry principles to ensure it looks natural and fits into your smile perfectly.

Dental implants stimulate your jawbone and support your gums to prevent the loss of bones and gums that can reduce the attractiveness of your results. Dental implants function just like natural teeth, too, so you don’t need to think about them on a daily basis, just treat them like your natural teeth.

If you are unhappy with a gap in your teeth and want to learn about replacement options for missing laterals, please call (843) 706-2999 for an appointment with a Hilton Head cosmetic dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.