Replacing Missing Teeth

Missing teeth can lead to a series of health issues because your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, your whole body is healthier too.

Teeth Replacement Options

There are plenty of options to replace missing teeth, but the best, long term solution is dental implants.

An example of a dental fixed bridge

Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge is a connected set of replacement teeth. The teeth on either side of the missing ones are crowned and used as anchors. The fake teeth are then cemented in place creating a bridge between the anchors. This might be a good option if you are not a candidate for dental implants. This option might require several trips to a dentist to complete.

A sample of a removable retainer with a plastic tooth known as a flipper

Flipper

The flipper, or removable partial denture, is a fragile, temporary and relatively inexpensive solution. It consists of a removable plastic or acrylic tooth with a retainer that rests along the lower jaw or against the roof of your mouth. This is an option for one or more missing teeth.

A depiction of a sturdy partial denture cast in metal and plastic

Metal Partial

A less fragile removable partial denture is a Metal Partial which is cast in metal and plastic and is held in place by wire clips connected to other teeth. This option can  be removed and reinserted by the patient when necessary.

A representation of a full denture for the entire lower jaw

Denture

Dentures are artificial teeth and gums (usually made of acrylic, nylon, or metal) that are custom designed and fitted to your mouth. Dentures can replace all missing teeth or just a few and can be removed when needed by the patient. Although dentures are the most common solution for teeth replacement, some people find them uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape.

A visual of a permanent dental implant to replace missing teeth

Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial teeth and behave just like natural teeth which makes them the best long-term solution. They replace both the root and the crown which enables you to eat normally, preventing bone loss and restoring facial structure. You can use and care for dental implants just like your natural teeth. Most patients don’t even notice a difference. With proper care, they can last a lifetime.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

Dental implants provide a permanent, comfortable and durable solution allowing you to speak, eat, and function as if they were your own teeth. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over 3 million Americans have dental implants, and that number continues to increase every year.

Dental Implants are the best option because they:

  • preserve the jawbone and facial structure
  • function just like natural teeth
  • are also versatile in that they can replace one tooth or all missing teeth
  • are long-lasting with proper care

WHY REPLACING REPLACE MISSING TEETH

It might be easier to go without replacing lost or missing teeth, but there are a number of health and cosmetic issues that result. Choosing a replacement option is highly important to maintaining dental health in addition to the appearance and function of your smile.

Jawbone Deterioration

Within the first year after a tooth falls out or is removed, you will lose 25% of your supporting jawbone structure. The jaw literally melts away. This deterioration can lead to an increased risk of fractures and breakage in your upper (maxilla) and lower (mandibular) jaw.

Changes in Facial Appearance

Your teeth naturally shift to compensate for your missing tooth. This can cause your bone to deteriorate and muscles to gradually sink, which can change the appearance of your face.

Difficulty Chewing and Speaking

Tooth loss can directly affect your bite, speech, and eating choices. When you lose a tooth, you begin to rely more heavily on your remaining teeth, which increases their chance of wear and damage. You can also experience headaches and/or pain in your jaw.

Risk of Disease and Infection

When you wait to replace a missing tooth, that pocket becomes a gateway for bacteria making you more likely to develop gum disease. Unfortunately, severe infections and diseases in the mouth can spread to the rest of the body quickly leading to additional health issues like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.

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