Replacing Missing Teeth | Montgomery AL

Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and eating choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. You may also experience headaches and/or jaw pain.

Who would want their appearance and health to deteriorate? That’s the natural consequence of missing teeth – the jaw literally melts away. The jaw bone like the rest of the body is dependent on stimulation from forces to maintain volume (this is the reason the medical community recommends weight traning and load bearing exercises to maintian bone volume in the hips, spine, etc.). Upon losing a tooth and the stimulation from it, people will lose up to 25% of their supporting jawbone adjacent to the tooth within the first year. 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. They also can’t decay like your natural teeth because they are constructed of titanium and porcelain. 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 not 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. Three dimensional CT scans of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether it will accommodate implants immediately, or in the case of delayed implant placement, if bone grafting is required. 

An example of a dental fixed bridge

Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge is a connected set of replacement teeth. For support, it is cemented into position on top of the teeth adjacent to the empty space (much like a bridge over a river that is supported by land on each side). Although this is a viable option it requires grinding down the adjacent teeth and placing crowns (translucent structures in diagram). These crowns can eventually leak at their interface with the teeth as tooth decay forms. Unfortunately, if one crown on the bridge needs to be replaced the entire bridge will have to be remade. 

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

Flipper

A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper”. These may be used as a temproary as the implant is healing, however are not a good replacement option long term.

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

Metal Partial

A less fragile option is a removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic. It is held in place by wire clips. A removable partial denture can is removed and reinserted when required by the patient and taken out prior to bedtime for clening overnight. 

A representation of a full denture for the entire lower jaw

Denture

The most common solution, for people missing all teeth in one or both jaws are complete dentures. Some people adapt well to dentures. Others find them uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape. A well constructed top denture stays in place from suction with the roof of the mouth. People often dislike the bulk of material necessary to form this suction. It also decreases taste. The bottom denture is commonly the most problematic. Its ability to stay in place is limited as the tongue is constantly moving and displacing it. It also suffers from less surface area to form suction, as there is no structure analagous to the roof of the mouth on the bottom jaw. 

A visual of a permanent dental implant to replace missing teeth

Dental Implants

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 can last a lifetime, if maintained properly. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable, and comfortable for almost any patient.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

To summarize there are several reasons: A dental bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing. From a biological standpoint they also maintain the bone you currently have. 

For more information about Options To Replace A Missing Tooth or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nizam, call our office today. We look forward to meeting you!

In Montgomery AL: Montgomery Office Phone Number 334-271-2002                   Schedule An Appointment