OPTIONS TO RESTORE MISSING TEETH
Everyone likes to look in the mirror and feel good about their smile. It is an
important priority to maintain a healthy vibrant smile for the look you need for
success. With the newer treatments we have today, folks of all ages can benefit
from the latest smile enhancement and restorative options.
If you are missing one or more teeth, as many adults are, you probably notice the impact
this has on your smile. The loss of a front tooth is obvious, but the loss of a back
tooth may cause your mouth to sink and teeth to shift. The result is changes to the
outside of your face that can be unpleasant.
God designed your teeth to work together like gears in a fine wrist watch. A finely
tuned dental occlusion or bite allows you to smile, eat and speak with confidence. Missing
teeth make these things difficult to do. Now there are ways to replace missing teeth with a
level of success that is truly amazing.
Selecting the correct treatment option is critical to success. Here are three options that
Dr. Ron uses routinely, depending on specific patient needs, to replace missing teeth.
FIXED PARTIAL DENTURES (BRIDGEWORK)
An excellent time honored choice to restore missing teeth is with a fixed partial denture,
also called fixed bridgework. Fixed partial dentures or bridgework are used to replace the
space where one or more teeth have been lost. Fixed bridgework is cemented or bonded to
teeth adjacent to missing teeth and can only be removed by the dentist.
Your smile, clear speech and restoration of natural function to your mouth are all important
reasons for considering fixed bridgework. Fixed partial dentures help maintain the natural
shape of your lips and face to keep your smile youthful and complete. A fixed bridge made
of porcelain bonded to high precious gold alloy may be the most natural looking
restoration possible to restore missing teeth.
HOW IS A FIXED PARTIAL DENTURE OR BRIDGE ATTACHED?
Fixed bridgework is cemented or bonded to the natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth.
A prosthetic tooth or pontic is used to replace the missing tooth. The pontic is attached to a
crown behind and in front of the missing tooth. The crowns and pontic are then cemented or bonded
to the adjacent natural teeth.
There are different types of fixed partial dentures or bridgework. The most common and time tested are bridges made of porcelain bonded to a very hard gold alloy. There are other alternatives such as bridges made without metal. To determine the correct choice for you, you need to contact Dr. Ron. He can show you the best treatment plan for your particular needs.
ADVANTAGES OF FIXED PARTIAL DENTURES
You get a look, feel and function almost exactly like natural teeth
No need to remove the bridge from the mouth for cleaning
More expensive than bridgework that is removed from the mouth
Treatment may take extra time and could get complex
REMOVABLE PARTIAL BRIDGEWORK
Removable partial dentures, also referred to as removable bridgework, can be removed from the mouth by the patient to allow cleaning and adjustments. Removable partial bridgework can be less expensive, but non removable partial dentures and fixed bridgework will feel more stable and usually are more comfortable.
In many cases, the only treatment plan option that makes sense is a removable bridge. Removables usually have a metal framework with the teeth attached by gum colored acrylic bases. The metal framework can attach to the natural teeth with clasps. Clasps are thin metal wire-like extensions from the framework that gently embrace the teeth to help keep the removable bridge in place during speaking and eating.
Or a claspless framework can be fabricated that attaches via precision attachments hidden inside of crowns. Precision attachments can provide superior support, stability, comfort and cosmetics for patients who need removable partial denture treatment. Dr. Ron and his staff can show you examples of both kinds of removable bridgework and help you decide which is the best choice for you.
WEARING A REMOVABLE PARTIAL DENTURE
Most folks rapidly learn the skills necessary to insert and remove removable partial bridgework. In some cases, it can however take a few to weeks to learn the skills necessary to regain normal chewing and function. Your tonge and facial muscles remember how it was when you had your natural teeth. Like riding a bike, your brain never forgets. But the cheek muscles and the tongue get lazy and crowd into the spaces where the teeth used to be.
It is normal to occasionally bite your cheek or tongue in the period of time your brain takes to remind the muscles to accept chewing with prosthetic replacement teeth! The hollow facial appearance that occurs with missing back teeth can be effectively eliminated in most cases with removable bridgework.
Dentures do settle into the mouth at variable rates over different time frames. In spite of the best impressions and attention to minute fabrication details, removable bridgework settles randomly and unpredictably. As a result, it is usually necessary to adjust the partial dentures during the accommodation process to maintain comfort.
Most folks learn to chew and speak in a week or two, but times can vary. Eating and speaking will be a more pleasant experience once the accommodation process takes it's course.
Over time, the ridge bone under removable bridgework can change. This will of course impact the fit of the removable bridge and require a rebase procedure to get the original fit and comfort.
Dr. Ron can help you with partial bridgework. His staff has extensive experience in helping folks accommodate to their new smile. We try to make the experience as comfortable as possible for our patients. Dr. Ron personally fabricates dentures in his dental laboratory so that you don't have to worry about lab technicians, dental assistants, etc. You get the attention, fit and comfort you deserve with a Dr. Ron Smile!
ADVANTAGES OF REMOVABLE BRIDGEWORK AND PARTIAL DENTURES:
Can be easier to repair if broken
Can be a very cost effective method to replace missing teeth
Can get lost or broken when out of the mouth
Cannot stimulate the bone in missing tooth areas to keep ridge bone levels high
May require periodic relines or rebase procedures
An implant can look and feel as natural as your lost natural teeth. Implants are high tech titanium tooth replacements that are inserted into recesses in the bone beneath the gum line. After insertion of the implant, the jaw bone fuses to the implant. Then a tooth replacement, a crown or a bridge, is attached to the implant.
Crowns and bridgework attached to implants can achieve excellent feel and cosmetics and chewing efficiency. Implant retained tooth replacements can have over 85% of the chewing efficiency of natural teeth in most cases. And they allow tooth replacements that are attached permanently; they do not come out of the mouth. You brush and clean them just like natural teeth.
Folks generally find the implant experience to be worth the effort and enjoy the security and stability that implant restoration of missing teeth can provide. Implants however, may not be indicated for everyone. A good candidate for implants must be in good health and be able to undergo a usually minor surgical procedure. A good patient for implants must have adequate bone levels in the mouth, or be a good candidate for building up bone that is missing.
Implant patients must be committed to perfect oral hygiene for the rest of their lives. Often times the dietary and lifestyle issues that led to lost teeth can affect implants too. Regular checkups with thorough evaluation of the implants as well as adjacent natural teeth are extremely important.
Dental implants permit replacements for missing teeth that feel and chew very much like the missing natural teeth. Implant replacement teeth can be used to support and stabiliize partial or full dentures.
Removable bridge work and partial dentures can, in many cases, be replaced with implant retained teeth that remain in the mouth. Removable teeth may no longer be necessary.
ADVANTAGES OF IMPLANTS
Look and feel like natural teeth
Adjacent teeth do not have to be reduced or restored with crowns
Minimize future jawbone shrinkage
Cost is higher than other alternative procedures
A surgical procedure is required to place implants
Whatever your needs, Dr. Ron and his staff can help you get the confident smile you need and the comfort you deserve. We're making the world a better place, one smile at a time!