Dental Implant Specialist in Modesto
Replacing Missing Teeth, Clarke V. Filippi, DDS
Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech, eating, and appearance. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will prematurely wear out, be damaged, or lost.
Who would want their appearance and health to deteriorate? That’s the natural consequence of missing teeth – the jaw literally melts away. Generally, people will lose 50% of their supporting jaw bone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are more easily placed when teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more complex as time passes. The great news? Implants act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Your dentist and the implant surgeon will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning tooth replacement.
Tooth Replacement Options
You can select from a number of different options to replace your missing teeth – from temporary to long-lasting solutions. A good candidate is anyone missing one or more teeth, or who is unhappy with their dentures. Age is rarely a factor. However, smoking, diseases such as diabetes, and radiation therapy to the area, have been shown to lower the success rate of implant placement. 3D X-rays of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether they will accommodate implants.
A dental bridge is series of crowns connected together. The natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth are to hold bridge in place. Since the bridge is cemented onto the support teeth, it cannot be removed by the patient. If the potential support teeth are unrestored or somewhat compromised by bone loss or existing restorations, a bridge might be a risky option.
Flipper / Stay Plate
A stay plate is a plastic retainer-type device that usually has some metal hooks onto remaining teeth. This typically is considered to be a short-term replacement option.
Removable Partial Denture
A stronger removable option is a removable partial denture which has a rigid metal substructure and plastic replacement teeth. Like a stay plate there are metal hooks that secure it to remaining teeth. Unfortunately, some people do not adapt well to a device that must be removed.
People who are missing all of their teeth in either the upper and/or low jaw (or arch) can replace their teeth with a complete denture. This is what people think of as a traditional denture. Some people adapt well to denture. Usually an upper denture as opposed to a lower denture which is harder to keep stable. Others find complete dentures uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape.
Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution. They form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, implants may last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable, and comfortable for almost any patient.