Tooth Replacement

There are many reasons why people lose teeth. Fortunately today there are many options that exist to help replace lost teeth including fixed and removable prosthetics. Learn more about your options below.

There are many reasons why people lose teeth. Fortunately today there are many options that exist to help replace lost teeth including fixed and removable prosthetics. Learn more about your options below.

Fixed Treatment Options

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance designed to replace missing teeth. A bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth) that will fill the gap where you are missing teeth. Bridges are a great option to restore missing teeth, prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position, restore chewing and speaking ability and to restore your smile. A bridge tends to be more convenient and comfortable than removable options (partial dentures). However, bridges can be less conservative, because they require crowning the adjacent teeth. Both bridges and partial dentures can be great options for replacing teeth, and we’ll be happy to work with you and help you make that decision.

  • Implant dentistry is the most advanced therapy available for the replacement of missing teeth. Implant restorations generally look, feel, and act like natural teeth. Implants are a great alternative to other replacement options, because they replace both the root and the crown of a tooth with biocompatible implant components.
  • An implant consists of a small titanium post that is surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal. It typically takes 3-4 months for the bone to heal and form a tight connection around the post. This additionally slows or stops any bone loss that has/can occur when the root of a natural tooth is missing in an area. Once the implant is fully healed, the dentist then fabricates the replacement tooth on top of the post.
  • Dental implants are one of the most advanced forms of restorative dentistry. They can be used to restore a single tooth, several missing teeth, or can help fixate and provide additional retention and support to dentures.
Single tooth implants can be beneficial in restoring a single missing tooth over a dental bridge for two main reasons. 1) An implant doesn’t require treating the adjacent teeth, where as a dental bridge requires crowning the teeth next to the missing space. 2) An implant helps maintain the bone in the area of the missing tooth by mimicking the natural root. A dental bridge cannot do this. A dental bridge may be a better option in instances where minimal bone exists for the titanium implant to be placed.
An implant bridge is similar to a tooth bridge, but instead of being supported by teeth it’s supported by implants. Implant bridges are a great option when three or more adjacent teeth are missing.
Implants can be placed and attached to both complete and partial dentures for improve retention and stability. Patients with implant supported dentures report improvements in ability to chew, speak, and overall comfort.
Implant supported dentures are a relatively simple transition. After implants are placed and have healed (3-4 months), a “snap on” attachment is added to the base of the denture. This attachment allows the denture to be easily snapped onto and off of the implants. You can continue wearing you denture until the implants have fully healed and the snap on attachments are ready to be made.

Removable Treatment Options

A denture is a removable dental appliance that replaces missing teeth and the surrounding tissue to give you back a beautiful smile. Dentures are custom made to closely resemble your natural teeth and enhance your smile/appearance. Dentures can help improve sunken facial tissues, chewing ability, speech, and confidence.

Partial dentures are fabricated to replace several missing teeth in an arch. Partial dentures fill in spaces created by missing teeth, providing new chewing surfaces and preventing remaining teeth from shifting or moving out of place. A partial denture can be made from a plastic-like material (acrylic) or by a combination of acrylic and a  lightweight metal frame. Each appliance is made to match your natural tooth and gum colors.
A complete denture is fabricated to replace all teeth in an arch. A complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate”. The conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, which usually takes 4-6 weeks. During this time, the patient will go without teeth.
Immediate dentures are made before the teeth are removed and are delivered on the day of surgery. This is often preferred, because the patient doesn’t have to go without teeth during the healing process. The downside to the immediate denture, is that more adjustments are often needed, and all immediate dentures require a re-line procedure once the tissues have healed. It is for those reasons the immediate dentures also tends to be more expensive.
Most patients are pleased with the retention of their upper dentures: they stay in place and have very little movement. Lower dentures however, tend to have poor retention, due to anatomical factors and a lack of surface area. This results in a moving or “floating” lower denture. A way to avoid this is to have two or more implants placed in the lower jaw. Attachments can then be added to the lower denture which allow it to “snap” onto the implant, improving stability and reducing unwanted movements while chewing or speaking. Also, Implant supported dentures distribute your biting pressure more like natural teeth, and stimulate the supportive remaining bone and soft tissue from shrinking away. Implant retained ‘overdentures’ are becoming the standard of care when replacing all of the teeth on the lower arch.

In need of our tooth replacement services? Schedule your appointment today!

Charles City
New Hampton

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