When it becomes difficult to chew, or you’re simply too embarrassed to smile due to several missing teeth, it’s important to know what options are available for you to get you smiling again. Your choice may vary based on your primary concerns, budget, and the end result you hope to achieve.
Removable, Partial Dentures
Dentists often use these dental appliances, as they are the most convenient, economical way to help restore a patient’s smile. Custom partial dentures can be used to replace just a few or several missing teeth all at once. The appliance is made for either the upper or lower arch, and can be used to replace all missing teeth on that particular arch, no matter where they are located (in the front, in the back, or on different sides.) Partial dentures are anchored on a metal or acrylic plate, with acrylic, realistic teeth bonded to the base. Careful designing allows the partial to snap into place, being held firmly by the remaining teeth in your mouth.
Titanium dental implants can support individual porcelain crowns, or dental bridges to replace any number of teeth at once. Each titanium implant acts as if it were a natural tooth root, encouraging bone formation and stabilization of the appliance in the jaw bone. Implants require more of an initial investment, but the end result is a fixed appliance that acts as if it were a natural tooth. There is no need to alter the structure of adjacent teeth for their support, making dental implants the treatment method of choice in regards to tooth replacement. Prior to having implants performed, your dentist will have to assess whether or not you have a healthy amount of bone support.
Posted on behalf of Jason R. Lee DMD, Greencastle Dental
The majority of Americans will lose one or more of their natural teeth at some point in their life. Missing teeth can have a negative impact on a person’s appearance and many patients choose to replace missing teeth to restore their smile and boost their self-confidence. Even if you are not bothered by the appearance of one or more missing teeth, replacing missing teeth with dental implants or another tooth replacement alternative is important to preserve your both your oral health and your overall health.
Missing teeth impact oral health in several ways. First, other teeth will tend to migrate and shift into the space left by the missing teeth. This can affect your bite which can lead to problems with your jaw including TMJ (pain in the jaw joint).
Missing teeth can also lead to bone loss in the jaw. Chewing action naturally stimulates bone production in the jaw and when a tooth is missing, bone loss can occur in the area of the missing tooth. The jaw bone will continue to deteriorate and over time, the person’s jaw will become noticeable smaller. Adjacent teeth can also become compromises by the weakened jaw bone.
In addition to oral health, missing teeth can compromise your overall health. Missing teeth make it more difficult to chew and to eat certain food. Studies of denture wearers have shown a significantly lower level of overall health that is usually attributed to avoiding certain types of hard to eat foods and eating only soft or mashed foods.
There are many excellent alternatives for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants are an outstanding option that look and function just like natural teeth. If you are missing one or more teeth, talk to you dentist about the best tooth replacement alternative for your situation.
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