If your researching teeth replacement online, you are probably well aware right now that patients have many options today on how they can fill in the gaps of their smile. The information below will make sure you are aware of the many options. The Your Smile Choice network is focused on beautiful full arch smile rehabilitation, but we help you decide what option is the right solution for you. Completing our brief survey is the best place to start.
- Flipper – A Flipper is a removable retainer that fits along the roof of your mouth (palate) or sits on your lower jaw and has one or more prosthetic teeth attached to it.
- Dentures – Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are formed to your mouth
- Bridge – A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/tooth in between.
- Implants – Dental implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums.
Why replace missing teeth?
The loss of teeth is often caused by tooth decay, disease, or trauma. Forgoing dental treatment to have these teeth replaced is a decision that 120 million Americans have made (American College of Prosthodontists). This decision can result in serious health concerns and a continuous degradation of your smile. The implications are serious and as they continue the seriousness builds:
- Bone loss
Failure to replace teeth is the leading cause of jawbone loss. Teeth stimulate and support the bone of the jaw making it stronger. Areas with missing teeth begin to recede impacting on how strong your jaw will become.
- Shifting teeth
Missing teeth result in gaps between your existing teeth, and these gaps significantly accelerate the shifting of teeth over time. Without adjacent tooth support this can lead to increased gum recession, tooth decay and impact the entire way you bite.
- Irregularities in your bite
Bite irregularities can impact your remaining teeth, your gums as well as your head and neck and your jaw joint (temporomandibular joint). This can result in increased TMJD, headaches, muscle pain, unnatural wearing of your remaining teeth, increased tooth sensitivity, and additional tooth loss.
- Difficulty chewing
Depending on location of your missing teeth, you may experience eating some of your favorite food. If you are missing a front tooth this will impact eating harder foods (e.g. apples) as we use them to break off bites of food. If you are missing back teeth this will impact on how effective you chew. The failure to chew adequately can impact how you digest, resulting in problems like acid reflux.
- How your face looks
Your teeth help support the shape and structure of your face and with missing teeth, overtime, your face can become sunken and aged. This can be easily seen if watch how a person’s face changes dramatically when they remove their denture.
- Issues with your speech
Teeth work in conjunction with your tongue to effectively create the vowel sounds of speech. People with missing teeth experience slurring, whistling and even spitting when they talk.
- Increased medical concerns
Research has shown that periodontal disease increases the prevalence of many systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart issues and Alzheimer’s. It can lower your body’s ability to fight off infection and inflammation.
…It really was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was really worried at the beginning for many reasons. Now I’m just smiling…” – Terrence, TX
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the most natural looking, natural feeling, and permanent replacement options for missing teeth and has become of the most popular ways of restoring a full smile (3 million American have received a dental implant, with this number growing annually by 500,00 – (American Academy of Implant Dentistry). They don’t slip, slide or click when talking laughing or eating. Dental implants surgery has been done for over 50 years and, as the science and technology has evolved, it has become one of the safest procedures in dentistry today.
Why are Dental Implants the best choice?
Of all four options, dental implants provide the most long-term value for patients. They are:
- Natural-looking with a comfortable fit
Dental implants are specifically designed to look, feel, and function like the natural teeth in your mouth. There is zero pain, movement, or social discomfort and give patients the confidence to engage socially with no worry.
- Reliable and long-lasting
With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime.
- High success rate
As the science and technology has evolved over the decades dental implants have become one of the most predictable and most successful dental restorations available.
- Enhanced ability to eat and enjoy
Just like natural teeth, dental implants are firmly anchored into your jaw. As a result they play a significant role.
|Tooth replacement technologies||Flipper||Dentures (partial or full)||Bridge||Implants|
|Longevity||1-3 years||5-7 years||7-10 years||Lifetime|
|Preservation of healthy adjacent teeth||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Transmission of force to:||adjacent teeth||adj teeth/gums||adjacent teeth||bone|
|Prevent bone loss & preserve facial appearance||No||No||No||Yes|
|Requirement for periodic adjustments||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Accelerated loss of adjacent teeth||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Source: Premium Tooth Replacement, Deutsche Bank, January 26, 2006
Essential parts to a dental implant
There are 3 essential parts to a dental implant – the implant itself, the abutment, and the crown:
- Dental implant – this is screw-link structure that acts as an artificial tooth root. It is screwed into the natural bone of the jaw and fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration. This creates a solid foundation to support the artificial tooth (the crown).
- The abutment – the abutment is the connector between the implant and the crown. It is placed in top of the implant and extrudes out allowing for the crown to be affixed to it
- Crown – the crown is your replacement teeth. It can be made of a number of materials. They are custom shaded to match you existing teeth for that natural smile and allow for full function.