If you are missing one or more of your permanent teeth, you’re not alone. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) the average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 has at least three decayed or missing teeth.
Regardless of how you lost your teeth, replacement teeth will not only enhance your appearance, they may also improve your ability to chew and speak normally. When missing multiple teeth, especially front teeth, self-confidence plummets and you may find yourself avoiding social situations due to embarrassment. With multiple missing teeth, the bony structures of the face may also undergo changes, causing it to droop or sag. Dr. Ashley Niles, of Niles Family Dentistry offers her patients a variety of treatments that are designed to help replace missing teeth, restore form and function, and even prevent further bone loss. Take a look at some of the tooth replacement options Dr. Niles might recommend to solve your problems.
Solution #1: Do Nothing
The first solution is to do nothing, but you have to be willing to live with the consequences of that choice. Having a missing tooth over time may cause unforetold problems. Teeth act as placeholders for each other and if a tooth is missing for an extended time, other adjacent teeth or teeth opposite from it may shift and change your bite. This causes multiple problems and often results in bone loss.
In order to keep your teeth and jaw bones strong, healthy and functional, doing nothing compromises your ability to effectively use that side of your mouth for chewing. For a healthy jaw and mouth, you need to be able to chew on both sides of the mouth. Chewing on teeth anchored in and around the jaw provides the optimal way to exercise the density of the jaw bones. Missing teeth puts you at an increased risk of losing bone density in that area of your mouth, which down the road often results in more tooth loss.
Solution #2: Dental Implants
A dental implant is a tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth. A dental implant is a metal post that Dr. Niles surgically positions into the jaw to replace the root of the lost tooth. Once in place and the bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a crown, which serves as a replacement tooth is attached to the implant post. While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years. They are also a more favorable approach because they stand alone rather than relying on adjacent teeth. In order to receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You also have to be committed to excellent oral hygiene and routine dental check-ups, since these factors are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
Solution #3: Crown and Bridge Work
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover and protect a tooth that has had root canal treatment from breaking
A bridge is a method to fill the space created by missing teeth that may be used if the missing tooth (teeth) can’t be replaced with dental implants. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support, hence the name. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or aesthetics.
Solution #4: Implant Retained Dentures
An implant retained partial denture is a denture that is held in place by dental implants and can be removed from the mouth during sleep or when dentures need cleaning. However, unlike conventional dentures which simply slip into place, these partials are anchored to fixed titanium posts embedded in the jawbone that emulate natural tooth roots.
Implant retained partial dentures are much better for patients than standard dentures because the implants themselves keep the jawbone constantly stimulated with the vibrations of chewing and eating. This prevents bone recession that always results when natural teeth are missing.
Implant retained partial dentures are also intended to evenly distribute chewing forces over the entirety of the arch and surrounding. This makes them work like more like natural teeth, and to act in harmony with remaining natural teeth. A person with these special partials can better enjoy daily life and eating without stress, discomfort, or embarrassment.
Solution #5: Partial and Full Dentures
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to replace all of the teeth in one or both arches (upper and lower). Dentures can be made to resemble or improve upon your natural teeth. In fact, dentures may be the best way to improve your smile.
Through the use of advanced technology Dr. Niles can help restore and repair your smile. Located in Niwot, Colorado at 136 2nd Ave. Suite 101. Dr. Niles provides dental care for the whole family and serves patients in Boulder, Longmont and other areas of northern Colorado.
Whether you are missing a single tooth or multiple teeth, Dr. Niles will discuss treatment options and customize a treatment plan based on your personal needs. Click here to make an appointment, or call at (720) 744-0001.
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