If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be all too aware of their importance to your looks and dental health. Your teeth are designed to work together to help you chew, speak and smile. When teeth are missing, it is difficult to do these things. Even the loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to shift and your face to look older. Fortunately, missing teeth can be replaced. Gregorich Family Dental and Dental Implant Center in Duluth, MN can help support you in pursuing the best treatment for your dental needs.
The following are three options Dr. Joe may suggest, depending on your needs. Replacement teeth should last for years at a time, so it’s important to choose a treatment that’s right for you.
Removable partial dentures
Many patients choose implants to replace a single or multiple teeth. They can also be used to support full dentures. Implants are a post that is surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacing teeth. They are made out of titanium and other materials that are accepted by the human body.
Most patients find that an implant is secure and stable-good replacement for their own teeth. However, implants are not an option for everyone. Patients need to have adequate bone support for the implant, or have a bone graft to promote bone growth. Sinus lift is also needed for some patients. Dr Joe has a special x-ray that is taken to see bone levels and measure for implant placement.
Chronic illness such as diabetes or leukemia may slow healing after surgery. Using tobacco products can also slow healing. Dr Joe can help you decide if it is the right procedure for you.
What’s involved to place an Implant?
There are many kinds of implants. Treatment can take only a one day, or it can take several months, or somewhere in between. Dr Joe can outline a treatment plan that is most likely to be successful for you.
Placement of the implant is surgically placed by Dr Joe into the jawbone.
The healing process makes the implant strong as the bone grows around it and holds it in place. This process takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely healed, up to several months, one visit.
Replacing your missing tooth or teeth (prosthesis) will be customized by Dr Joe or the lab, and a crown, bridge or dentures to fit your mouth and your implants. Once completed, the man-made teeth are attached to the implant posts.
Dr Joe may also make you a prosthesis, such as a temp crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and drink until your permanent replacement is ready.
Advantages of implants:
An implant is most similar to a natural tooth
Nearby teeth do not have to be involved in the placement procedures
Implants may last for many years, even decades
Some types of implants and artificial teeth of dentures can be placed in just one or two visits
Disadvantages of implants:
Implants are not for everyone, since they require surgery
Implants placement may take longer and may require more dental visits than other options
Implants may cost more than other treatments
Another tooth replacement option is a fixed bridge. This is a restoration that fills the space where one or more teeth have been lost. A fixed bridge is bonded or cemented into place-only a dentist can remove it.
How is a bridge placed?
Placing a bridge usually takes one to two appointments. Dr Joe uses a dental lab to make bridges and also in office crowns with the cerec machine. Lab bridges can be made out of metal, ceramic, glass-ceramic, porcelain or a combination.
When talking about bridges, we may use these terms.
Pontic: the replacement for you missing tooth
Crown: a “cap” that covers the attachment tooth
Advantages of a fixed bridge:
Look, feel and function like a natural
Don’t require removal for cleaningthe teeth next
Cost less than implants
Disadvantages of fixed bridge:
Likely to be more expensive than a removable partial dentures
Affect the teeth next to the missing tooth
May require extra effort to clean under pontic
REMOVABLE PARTIAL DENTURES
A removable partial denture can easily be taken out of the mouth for cleaning. Partial dentures usually have replacement teeth fixed to a plastic bas the color of your gums. The plastic base may cover a metal framework. Partial dentures often have some form of clasp that attaches to your teeth.
Dr Joe may also recommend crowns, on your natural teeth. Crowns may improve the way a removable denture fits the mouth.
Getting used to a removable partial takes practice to put in and take out. It may feel odd or tight for the first few weeks. But in time, you should get used to it. Never force it into place by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.
Removable partial dentures should not be worn 24 hours a day. Dr Joe may tell you to take the partial out at bedtime to rest the tissue udder the partial. Usually there will be a few follow-up visits to relieve pressure points or sore spots.
Once missing teeth are replaced, eating should be a much more pleasant experience. Since missing teeth can make it difficult to speak clearly or chew your food thoroughly.
Over time, as you age your mouth changes, your removable partial denture may no longer fit well. It also could break, crack, chip, or teeth may loosen. Sometimes Dr Joe can make the repairs but complex breaks may take a dental lab to repair.
Advantages of removable partial dentures:
Usually less expensive than fixed bridges or implants
Usually easier to repair than fixed bridges
Disadvantages of removable partial dentures:
Can be less stable than other choices
They can break or be lost
Can be uncomfortable
Some people are embarrassed to take out their teeth at night and for cleaning
May need more frequent replacement than other options
Information from the ADA Website Mouth Healthy