Missing Tooth Replacement Options
WHAT ARE MISSING TOOTH REPLACEMENT OPTIONS
If you are missing one or more teeth, there are several options for teeth replacement. Whether you have one tooth, a few teeth or whole jaw-full missing teeth, you can make a choice based on comfort, budget and value.
With new materials, techniques and technology, you can now choose from various options available, when it comes to tooth replacement. An excellent way to replace your missing teeth over time is to combine the strength, durability and versatility of a dental implant with affordable and flexible options of dental bridges and dentures.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.
A dental implant has three parts:
1. A titanium screw (called an implant) embedded into the jawbone, replacing the original root
2. A porcelain crown
3. A connector that joins the two pieces (called an abutment)
Unlike dentures, which can be removed, a dental implant is permanent. The titanium screw fuses to the bone, making implants more durable than other options
WHAT ARE DENTURES?
Dentures are removable false teeth designed to replace missing teeth. Your dentist may recommend complete (full) dentures.
Dentures are removable false teeth designed to replace missing teeth. Your dentist may recommend complete (full) dentures or partial dentures, depending on how many natural teeth you have lost. Dentures can be created to match your existing teeth, so they are not very noticeable. However, getting used to dentures can take a little practice, particularly when it comes to eating and speaking. Dentures must be brushed daily, just like your regular teeth. Your dentist will tell you how to do this.
– COMPLETE DENTURES
Image illustrating a complete denture
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
– PARTIAL DENTURES
Image showing a partial denture
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This “bridge” is then cemented into place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural-looking appliance.
HOW PAINFUL ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia can be used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.
After the dental implant, mild soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
WHAT TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES ARE AVAILABLE?
There are three main types of dental bridges:
Image showing a traditional bridge
Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
Image showing a cantilever bridge
Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common any more and is not recommended in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damage them.
Image showing a maryland bonded bridge
Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
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