Missing teeth can cause problems for your dental health over time. When a tooth is missing for an extended length of time, the surrounding teeth begin to migrate into the empty socket. This can cause bite alignment problems and other issues. Eating, speaking, and smiling normally can also become more difficult for patients with tooth loss.
Today, there are many different options for replacing missing teeth. Every patient is different, and the solution that is right for you will depend on your health history, the number of teeth you need to replace, the amount of bone left in your jaw, and other factors. To help you decide which restoration is right for you, we’ve provided information about a few of the most popular tooth replacement options.
Dental implants are becoming one of the most popular restoration options available because they are functional, healthy, and natural-looking.
- Permanent replacement option for one tooth or multiple teeth (can last a lifetime with proper care)
- Function just like natural teeth
- Restore the appearance of your smile
- Eliminate discomfort caused by removable prostheses that slip
- Stimulate jaw and prevent bone loss caused by missing teeth
They consist of three separate parts: the screw, the abutment, and the crown (or bridge, depending on the number of teeth being replaced). The screw will replace your tooth’s root by integrating with the bone beneath the gums. This creates a stable foundation to connect the abutment, which holds up your new crown. Each crown is custom designed to look like your natural teeth. If you need multiple teeth replaced, dental implants can also support multi-tooth bridges instead of single crowns.
The entire treatment process is a joint effort between you, your oral surgeon, and your dentist. Dental implants are usually recommended for patients who are healthy enough to undergo minor dental procedures. Once the process is complete, most patients find that their implants function just like natural teeth do.
Dental Implant-Supported Dentures
Implant-supported dentures are the most efficient and cost-effective way to replace most or all of your teeth with permanent, non-removable prostheses.
- Use two to four dental implants to secure an entire fixed denture
- Permanent replacement option for a full upper or lower arch of teeth
- Allow patients to eat the foods they enjoy
- Prevent bone loss around the jaw
- Provide a new smile in as little as one procedure, though soft foods will be required during the recovery phase
Dental implant-supported dentures are great for patients who want an alternative to traditional dentures. Instead of removing your teeth at night, dental implants will hold them in place permanently. There is no risk of the fixed denture slipping or falling out while you eat, which allows for more natural and comfortable daily use.
Your oral surgeon will work together with your dentist to create your new replacement teeth and place them in your mouth. Implant-supported dentures are usually recommended for patients who are healthy enough to undergo minor dental procedures.
Tooth-supported bridges have been used for years to restore the space left by missing teeth.
- Restore appearance of a missing tooth
- Add chewing function to the mouth
- Require support from neighboring healthy teeth
- Can last five to fifteen years before being replaced
Bridges work by literally bridging the gap created by a missing tooth or missing teeth. The bridge itself is made up of prosthetic teeth held in place by two crowns that are fixed to your surrounding teeth. Your dentist may have to grind down or reshape your teeth so that the bridge fits properly. For patients who are looking for a semi-permanent option that does not require surgery, tooth-supported bridges may be the right choice.
Partial and full dentures have been used to replace teeth for hundreds of years, and they are still a very popular option today. Improvements in denture design have improved the fit and appearance of traditional dentures.
- Restore appearance of smile
- Add some chewing function
- Removable tooth replacement option
- Can last five to seven years (may need replacement if bone loss occurs)
If you are unable to receive permanent tooth replacements, or you prefer having a removable option, dentures may be right for you. The quality of dentures has improved greatly over the last few years, although they do not provide protection against bone loss. As your mouth changes shape over time, you may need to have dentures refitted or remade to ensure a secure fit. If you have problems with the fit of your dentures, you may be a candidate for pre-prosthetic surgery, which alters the shape of the mouth for the best possible fit. Pre-prosthetic surgeries are performed by oral surgeons, but regular denture fittings are usually done by dentists and prosthodontists.
Tooth Restoration Options in Alexandria, LA and Natchitoches, LA
The best way to determine which tooth replacement option is best for you is to have a consultation with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Alexandria Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center provides a variety of dental implant-supported tooth restoration options. If you want to learn more about dental implants, implant-supported dentures, immediate implants, and other tooth replacement methods, contact one of our offices in Alexandria, LA, or Natchitoches, LA, for more information.