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 Dr. Platt 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.
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 to select dental implants over more traditional types of restorative options. They include:
- Stability and Durability: Dental implants provide a stable foundation for artificial teeth. They are surgically placed into the jawbone, where they fuse with the bone over time through a process called osseointegration. This integration creates a strong and durable support for replacement teeth, offering stability similar to natural teeth.
- Natural Appearance and Function: Implants closely mimic the look, feel, and function of natural teeth. The replacement teeth, known as crowns, are custom-made to match the color, shape, and size of your existing teeth. This allows for a seamless blend with your natural smile, providing an aesthetically pleasing result.
- Preservation of Jawbone and Facial Structure: When a tooth is lost, the underlying jawbone can begin to deteriorate due to lack of stimulation. Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss and maintaining the integrity of your facial structure. This helps preserve your youthful facial contours and prevents the sunken appearance that can occur with missing teeth.
- Improved Oral Health: Unlike other restorative options such as dental bridges, implants do not require adjacent teeth to be modified or shaved down for support. This preserves the natural tooth structure of neighboring teeth, promoting better long-term oral health. Additionally, implants are easier to clean and maintain since they function like natural teeth, allowing for regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings.
- Enhanced Comfort and Speech: Ill-fitting dentures or bridges can cause discomfort, irritation, and difficulty in speaking clearly. Dental implants eliminate these issues by providing a stable and secure foundation for replacement teeth. They allow you to speak, eat, and chew with confidence and comfort, without the fear of slipping or shifting.
- Long-Term Value: While dental implants may have a higher upfront cost compared to other restorative options, they offer long-term value and durability. With proper care and maintenance, implants can last a lifetime, making them a cost-effective investment in your oral health.
Contact our office today to see if dental implants are right for you! You can even schedule a complimentary dental implant consultation to determine the best course of treatment moving forward! We can’t wait to see you soon!