Replacing Missing Teeth
Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and eating choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. You may also experience headaches and/or jaw pain.
Who would want their appearance and health to deteriorate? That’s the natural consequence of missing teeth – the jaw literally melts away. Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting jawbone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are more easily placed when teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more complex as time passes. The great news? Implants act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Your dentist and the implant surgeon will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning tooth replacement.
Tooth Replacement Options
You can select from a number of different options to replace your missing teeth – from temporary to long-lasting solutions.
A good candidate is anyone missing one or more teeth, or who is unhappy with their dentures. Age is not a factor. However, smoking, diseases such as diabetes, and radiation therapy to the area, have been shown to lower the success rate of implant placement. X-rays of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether they will accommodate implants. Detailed x-rays may also be required to determine if other tests or procedures are needed to place implants properly.
A fixed bridge is a connected set of replacement teeth. For support, it is cemented into position on top of the teeth adjacent to the empty space. The protective outer layer of these teeth is usually removed or ground down prior to attaching the bridge.
Resin Partial Denture
A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper.”
Metal Base Partial Denture
A less fragile option is a removable partial denture cast in metal and acrylic. It is held in place by wire clasps. A removable partial denture can be removed and reinserted when required by the patient.
The most common solution for people missing all teeth in one or both jaws are complete dentures. Complete dentures are an affordable option for patients, allowing them to function well and look great without the expense and surgery involved with implants. In addition, patients can often elect to have implant surgery in the future, if they decide they would like to spread out the costs associated with treatment.
Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution for tooth replacement. They form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, implants can last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable, and comfortable for almost any patient. Patients report implants allow them to function as if they have their natural teeth.
Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?
There are several reasons: A dental bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth, implants are easier to clean than bridges, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, and the stability afforded by implants is unmatched by any removable prosthesis.