Dental implants are an alternative treatment to crowns or bridges, if you are either missing teeth or have ones that are severely damaged and need to be replaced. Potential patients need to have sufficient bone structure in the location of the missing teeth, so that the implant has a sufficient anchor. Implants can be used to replace single missing teeth, restore small bridges, replace removable partial dentures and even people who have lost all their teeth are suitable candidates for dental implants.
An implant involves the insertion of a titanium post into the bone beneath the gum. This is undertaken in order to support a tooth like prosthesis. Similarly, two or more implants may be joined together to replace several missing teeth. The titanium post fuses via bone formation against the implant surface and the replacement tooth is secured into the post. People who have suffered from speech or eating issues as a result of their removable dentures may find that their new implants allow them to eat without discomfort and speak more clearly.
Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular for patients in need of tooth replacements with 300 000 – 500 000 new implants being placed each year in the US alone. People often find that implants are more stable and secure than the alternative treatments that are available.
Not all patients may be appropriate candidates for dental implants. Factors such as age, general health, smoking and existing oral disease must be considered. To determine if you are a good candidate, a through evaluation of your oral and systemic health should be considered as well as a discussion of the type of implant solutions available and their unique risks and benefits. We look forward to discussing these factors with our patients to determine if implants are the right solution for your unique situation.
Bridges are collections of interconnecting crowns that can be used to restore missing or severely damaged teeth. Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. For example, a bridge may comprise two crowns on either side of a gap, with a false tooth or teeth in the middle. These artificial teeth can be made from gold, metal alloys, porcelain or a combination of these.
If you’re missing some teeth, you may consider it a minor issue, but this can in fact cause serious problems. Over time, missing teeth can cause your teeth to actually move out of position in your mouth. This can adversely affect your bite, as well as lead to the loss of even more teeth, gum disease and severe tooth decay, plus you may even suffer from migraines as a result of your dental problems. If you’re experiencing these kinds of symptoms, a visit to your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental bridgework.
It should be pointed out that the natural teeth used to support the bridge need to be trimmed down, to allow the bridge to be fitted. This can lead to damage, which could later result in the patient requiring additional treatment, such as a root canal. The abutment teeth, that is the natural teeth used to support the bridge, may also become overloaded due to the stress placed on them, as two teeth are required to perform the work of three and so on. The difficulty of adequately cleaning under a false tooth can also lead to the development of cavities or problems with gum tissue. Finally, it should be noted that dental bridges might be costly when compared to dentures, for example, with the cost not being fully covered by your insurance company.
Removable partial dentures can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. If you only have a few upper or lower teeth missing or even if you only have at least two teeth remaining in either arch, a removable partial denture or RPD can be a relatively inexpensive solution. All RPD’s contain standard plastic denture teeth, which act as replacements for the missing natural teeth. The types of RPD’s available differ in terms of the materials that are used to ensure that the RPD is retained in the mouth and also support the artificial denture teeth. Partial dentures may be completely tooth supported, held in place by both teeth and tissue or supported by implants and tissue, depending on your remaining number of teeth.
Partial dentures are made from a combination of metal and acrylic or solely from acrylic. Metal construction is usually considered to be more hygienic and more durable than acrylic and metal partial dentures are also thinner. Acrylic RPD’s are mostly recommended as a temporary or transitional partial denture and your dentist will always determine which type is best suited to your needs.
RPD’s are specifically made to meet the requirements of the individual patient. The design process involves the construction of a self-cleansing partial denture that also helps to preserve the remaining teeth and the general structure of the mouth. Particular attention is given to the chewing process, since this can put adverse pressure on the remaining teeth when the patient is eating. Partial dentures are designed in order for the strain created by chewing to be evenly distributed across all of the remaining soft issue and natural teeth. In some cases, this may also require modifications to the remaining teeth, before the RPD is installed.
Removable partial dentures can offer considerable benefits. They help to ensure proper chewing by allowing for a fully adequate grinding of food before swallowing. This in turn assists with proper digestion and helps to alleviate stomach problems or conditions such as heartburn or indigestion. RPD’s can also help preserve your natural dental placement, supporting your existing teeth. Depending on the type and design of the removable partial denture, as well as their individual dental issues, some patients experience an improvement in their facial appearance, in their ability to eat without discomfort or perhaps in their speech. A removable partial denture can certainly make a big difference and a qualified dental professional will help to determine if this is the right treatment for you.