Are missing teeth making you self-conscious? Do you try to hide your missing teeth when speaking? Are missing teeth affecting your ability to chew or speak clearly? Bone beneath the missing teeth can shrink, resulting in facial muscle collapse and additional aesthetic issues. The good news is that patients have several options when it comes to missing teeth replacement. Dr. Raymond Hatland discusses three ways to restore your missing teeth and the benefits of each.
1. Dental Implants
Dental implants consist of small zirconium posts placed in the jaw. These implants provide support for types of artificial teeth such as bridges, crowns or dentures. The number of implants depends upon the number of teeth replaced. After placement, the patient must wait between three and six months while the implants fuse with the bone. Patients with insufficient bone may require a bone graft. When healing is complete and new bone has grown into the jaw, it’s time to start the process of installing fixed or removable replacement teeth.
Dental implants are the gold standard when it comes to tooth restoration. That’s because they are the only type of tooth restoration that prevents the jawbone atrophy that so often accompanies tooth loss.
A dental bridge helps restore tooth appearance and function. It’s called a “bridge” because it bridges the gap left by the missing tooth. Usually, a bridge consists of dental crowns on each side of a false tooth, known as a pontic tooth. A bridge requires the presence of healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The dentist cements the bridge into place.
There are alternatives, such as a cantilever bridge, if natural teeth exist on only one side of the missing tooth’s gap.
Along with smile restoration, a bridge allows you to chew naturally. Sometimes, nearby teeth will move into the gap left by the missing tooth. This can result in jaw pain. A bridge should relieve that discomfort.
Modern dentures have come a long way. While these removable appliances were once considered ill-fitting and obviously “false” teeth, today’s dentures are far lighter, more natural in appearance and comfortable. Full or partial dentures are available, based on the patient’s tooth loss.
Unlike dentures of the past, which were always removable, patients can opt for dentures secured through implant posts.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Hatland
During your dental exam, Dr. Hatland will discuss your teeth restoration options and the best way to restore your smile. If missing teeth are affecting your appearance, chewing or speaking ability, request an appointment with Dr. Hatland today.