Replacing A Single Tooth
Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and food choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. When teeth are lost and the bite changes 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 shrinks away. People can lose up to 25% of their supporting jaw bone within the first year after tooth loss. Implants however act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Your dentist and periodontist will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning tooth replacement.
Tooth Replacement Options
There are multiple options available to replace missing teeth. And no one option is best for every patient or every situation. Dental implants are usually the most conservative and longest lasting treatment option to replace missing teeth and age is usually not a deterrent. A periodontist is an expert in implant dentistry and will perform and examination and take X-ray images of your jaw to determine what the best option is for you.
A fixed bridge is cemented to adjacent healthy teeth. Multiple adjacent teeth need to be drilled down and thus permanently damaged to support a fixed bridge. A fixed bridge can be a good option to replace missing teeth but usually only when dental implants cannot be placed.
A removable partial denture is made out of metal and acrylic and replaces missing teeth like a retainer. It is held in place by metal wires or “clasps” which hug the adjacent healthy teeth. The metal wires can often damage teeth long term. A removable partial denture needs to be removed periodically during the day to clean underneath it, and also needs to be soaked in a cleaning solution at night when sleeping. Food gets caught underneath often making it uncomfortable to eat.
A complete denture is made out of acrylic and replaces all the missing teeth in a single jaw. Some people learn to adapt to complete dentures. Others find them uncomfortable or even intolerable. This is especially true for lower dentures. Similar to removable PARTIAL dentures, complete dentures also need to be removed periodically during the day to clean underneath them, and also need to be soaked in a cleaning solution at night when sleeping. Food gets caught underneath them making it uncomfortable to eat. As the jaw continues to shrink away with time, the dentures become more and more difficult to keep in the mouth without falling out.
Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution for replacing lost or missing teeth. They form a strong foundation and keep the jaw healthy. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, with proper maintenance implants can last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth are 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.