Replacing Missing Teeth
Your teeth affect your whole body. When they are healthy, you are healthier too. Missing teeth can affect the stability and health of your bite, eating comfort and speech. A heavier reliance on the remaining teeth can increase the chance that they will wear or fracture prematurely. Bite misalignment can be a cause of headache or jaw pain.
Missing teeth have an obvious possible impact on one’s appearance; both affecting the smile and facial support. When teeth are lost, the natural consequence includes bone resorption (bone melting away). Generally, people can lose up to 25% of their supporting jaw bone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants can be more easily placed when teeth have been recently extracted because there is more bone to work with. A great benefit to the placement of dental implants includes the fact that their placement helps preserve bone structure, preventing bone resorption. Your dentist and the implant surgeon will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision regarding tooth replacement treatment.
Tooth Replacement Options
There are a number of different options available to replace missing teeth. These include both temporary and long lasting solutions. Most patients are good candidates for dental implant surgery. Age is not a factor. Conditions, including smoking, medical conditions like diabetes, previous radiation therapy to the jaw, have been shown to lower the success rate of dental implant placement.
Adequate bone volume is necessary for the successful placement of dental implants. Your surgeon will evaluate you for this. The evaluation will include x-rays. Special x-rays (CT scans or 3D x-ray) and other tests may be appropriate to help plan your treatment.
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.
A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper”.
A less fragile option is a removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic. It is held in place by wire clips. 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. Some people adapt well to dentures. Others find them uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape.
Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution. 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.
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. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.