Tooth Replacement Options To Elevate Your Oral Health and Smile
Missing teeth can be a result of many different reasons ranging from genetic predisposition to severe tooth decay, gum disease, injury etc. Regardless of the cause – missing teeth or even a single missing tooth present significant problem for proper functioning of your mouth. It can negatively impact the alignment of your remaining teeth, structure of your jawbone, cause other teeth in your mouth to shift and gravitate toward some of the empty spaces. It can also impede your speech, ability to chew food and negatively impact your nutrition and well-being. All teeth play a role in maintaining a proper function of your mouth so when they are lost, they should and must be replaced.
There are several ways to replace missing teeth:
- Dental Implants – either for a single tooth or to support a dental bridge or implant denture (discussed below)
- Dental Bridges – which can be tooth supported or implant supported
- Dentures – which can be complete, partial or hybrid
WHAT OTHERS SAY...
Teeth Replacement Testimonials
I recently had major dental work completed with Dr. Tufa. My entire upper bridge of 30+ years failed and the work that was necessary spanned over the last year, at my request, to take it slowly. I must say I was a nervous wreck undergoing this major reconstruction. The work that was completed was impeccable. Dr. Tufa's need for perfection is apparent when I show off my new smile. I would highly recommend her for any of your dental needs. She and her staff make your feel very comfortable and at ease.
A dental implant is a tooth root substitute, typically made of titanium, that is surgically implanted into the jawbone by a surgical specialist. The bone bonds with this metal anchor which provides a stable and long-lasting foundation for artificial replacement teeth.
After a certain healing period, usually 3 to 6 months, a restorative dentist will insert a small post, called implant abutment, that will stick out through the gums and serve as anchor for the new tooth, usually an implant crown if missing a single tooth. For treatments where multiple missing teeth are replaced, implant dentures or implant supported bridge would be anchored to multiple implants as needed.
Dental implants offer several benefits and advantages over other teeth replacement solutions:
- They last a long time: Dental implants integrate with the jawbone, providing a solid and permanent foundation for replacement teeth. They are more durable compared to other options.
- Improved oral health and functionality: Dental implants allow patients to bite, chew, and speak with ease. They also help maintain the integrity of your jawbone, stabilize, and preserve surrounding teeth and tissue and prevent bone loss which occurs when teeth are missing. For single tooth replacement, and unlike standard dental bridge there is an added advantage for the implant solution because it allows flossing between the implant and adjacent teeth which lot of patients appreciate.
- Final restorations feel and function like natural teeth: Implant supported restorations are designed to mimic the look and feel of natural teeth, providing a seamless and natural appearance. Unlike removable dentures, they are comfortable, do not cause eating difficulties, or troubles while speaking and do not have to be removed by the patient for any reason. This helps patients eliminate discomfort, restore their confidence and smile without hesitation.
Implant Crowns and Bridges
An implant crown is one of the best options to replace a missing tooth and restore the esthetics and function of your mouth. When a tooth is lost, the bone that once supported it resorbs, making the adjacent and opposing teeth less stable and prone to tipping. Replacing the missing tooth with an implant will stall this process and stabilize your bite.
The process begins with a surgical placement of the implant fixture and allowing it to heal and fuse with the bone. Once you have the implant in place, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Tufa to put the crown on it. Depending on the location in the mouth, the implant can be temporized with an interim crown for improved esthetics. The final implant tooth assembly consists of an abutment that is screwed onto the implant fixture and a crown that mimics the natural tooth.
An implant supported bridge can be used to replace multiple missing teeth. It is a single restoration that uses dental implants neighboring the space for support. It typically requires multiple appointments to complete.
A bridge can be used to replace a missing tooth and restore the appearance and function of the mouth. It is a single restoration that uses the teeth adjacent to the open space for support. This is a good treatment option especially if these adjacent teeth are already broken down and need to be protected with full coverage restorations like crowns.
It typically requires multiple appointments to complete this process, and involves a temporary bridge phase while the custom bridge is being crafted by a dental lab. Once completed, the area is now restored to optimal function and appearance. Click on the video from Spear Education to see a visual presentation of this procedure.
Complete and Partial Dentures
For patients requiring replacement of all teeth in the upper and/or lower arch of the mouth, removable dentures are an excellent treatment option. They provide improved esthetics by replacing the missing teeth in the mouth, and improved overall function for eating and speech. Removable dentures are designed to be removable without the assistance of a dental professional.
The process of creating dentures requires a close collaboration between the dentist and a dental lab and begins with the dentist taking several impressions of your gums. It usually takes multiple incremental "try-in" fittings to ensure the best final fit of your denture. After a brief period of adjusting to the feel of the dentures in your mouth, they will begin to feel natural to you - making eating easier and your speech clearer.
When circumstances do not allow for a bridge or dental implants, and especially when there are multiple missing teeth in an arch, removable partial dentures are an excellent option to replace them. They provide improved esthetics by replacing the missing teeth, and improved overall function for eating and speech.
It will typically take multiple appointments to complete this process. Removable partial dentures are an appliance placed in the mouth containing replacement teeth typically mounted in a base made of a pink gum-colored resin formed over a metal frame.
Implant dentures (also known as hybrid dentures) are one of the most innovative ways to replace a full arch of missing teeth via implants. The implants fuse with the jaw bone which helps support and stabilize the denture.
Advantages of hybrids include:
- Improved esthetics and self-confidence.
- No slipping, moving or clacking gives a sense of security during eating and speech.
- Better taste sensation and speech since hybrid dentures don’t cover the palate.
- No need to remove them at night.
These dentures are designed so that they are non-removable by you. Removal for regular maintenance and cleaning is done by your dentist during scheduled appointments. Click on the video from Spear Education to see a visual presentation of this procedure.