Despite improvements in dental care, millions of Americans suffer tooth loss – mostly due to tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), or injury. If you have missing teeth, it is crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite causing discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But today dental implants are becoming the standard of care.
Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth! A dental implant is a new tooth made of steel and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. Your implant is composed of two parts that mimic a tooth's root and crown. The implant's "root" is a titanium steel rod placed into the jaw bone to act as a root. Once the rod is in place, a porcelain crown is attached to replace the top part of the tooth. Implants are also used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when talking or chewing.
Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so that you have a more natural-looking smile. Some advantages of dental implants include improved appearance, speech, comfort, and oral health. Eating will be easier and pain-free. Implants are also very durable. With good care, many implants last a lifetime. Because implants are not removable, there is no need for the messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.
You and your dentist may determine that you need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may have advanced periodontal disease, or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health. To avoid these complications, in most cases, our dentists will discuss alternatives to extractions as well as replacement of the extracted tooth.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position, similar to a bridge. Complete dentures are either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional denture is placed in the mouth about a month after all the teeth are removed to allow for proper healing, whereas an immediate denture is placed as soon as the teeth are removed.