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 bone literally melts away. Generally, people will lose 25-50% of their supporting jaw bone structure in the area of a missing tooth 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. Dr. Pollack, Odrich and Sarmiento, in coordination with your dentist, 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 reason not to replace missing teeth. However, smoking and diabetes can affect healing and success rates, though high dose radiation therapy to the area may preclude implant placement. X-rays of your jaw will be needed to evaluate whether they will accommodate implants. A dental CT scan (cone beam or CBCT scan) 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 enamel layer of these teeth is removed by grinding down prior to attaching the bridge.
A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable denture with a plastic replacement tooth on a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper”.
Removable Partial Denture
A less fragile option is a removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic. It is held in place by wire clips attached to remaining teeth and always attaches to teeth on both sides of the jaw. A removable partial denture is removed and reinserted by the patient and should be removed while asleep.
A 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. Movement during eating and speaking as well as the need to cover the palate (roof of the mouth) for an upper denture often makes it difficult to tolerate and reduces the taste and textural enjoyment of food. Lower dentures often suffer from lack of stability and poor fit.
Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution. They form a strong foundation for replacement teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Implants can support a single replacement tooth, several teeth, or even an entire jaw of missing teeth. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. 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 entails grinding down surrounding teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. Further, conventional fixed bridges generally last only a limited time, implant supported bridges will usually last much longer.
In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient and embarrassing, and dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to eat and speak naturally.