REPLACING Back Teeth
The most common occurrence of tooth loss is in the back of the mouth. This is usually the result of decay, fracture, periodontal (gum) disease or failed root canal treatment. When more than one posterior teeth are missing the most common treatments are: implant-supported restorations, a tooth-supported bridge or a removable partial denture.
Implant Supported Restorations
There are numerous advantages to replacing teeth with implant-supported restorations:
- They look, feel and function like natural teeth
- They provide comfort and stability that is usually not possible with partial dentures
- The implants preserve bone thereby preventing bone resorption or deterioration
- It is not necessary to compromise the adjacent natural teeth
Tooth Supported Bridge
A tooth supported bridge is a dental restoration that indirectly replaces a missing tooth. It is made by reducing the teeth adjacent to the location of the missing tooth (teeth). The bridge, therefore, compromises the adjacent teeth and imposes a high functional load. Eventually, this can result in damage or loss of the support teeth. In the United States, the average bridge fails in less than 10 years.
Removable Partial Denture
Removable partial dentures can accelerate the bone resorption process that results from the loss or removal of teeth. If the partial denture rocks back and forth while chewing, the metal clasps put pressure on the adjacent teeth. Over time, this can lead to the loss of these teeth. Many patients report that their partial dentures do not function well and often cause discomfort.
Replacing front teeth
The most common treatments for replacing a single anterior (front) tooth are an implant supported crown and a tooth-supported bridge.
An Implant-Supported Crown offers several advantages:
- Dental implants have a significantly better long term prognosis
- An implant does not decay
- It is not necessary to compromise the health of the adjacent natural teeth
- A crown is easier to clean than a bridge and therefore, more hygienic
Full mouth tooth replacement (replacing all of the teeth)
Dental implants can change the lives of people who are missing all of their teeth. In the past, the only treatment option was a full set of dentures which have several limitations:
- Dentures accelerate bone resorption or deterioration
- As the bone deteriorates, dentures become loose and increasingly uncomfortable
- It is not uncommon for loose dentures to fall out
- Dentures are not comfortable to wear and are often painful
- Wearing dentures can affect self-confidence
- It is very difficult to eat certain foods such as apples or steak
These problems can be resolved with dental implant treatment. Implant-supported dentures and replacement teeth are stable and since the implants preserve bone, the integrity of facial structures can be maintained.
Some of the many advantages of dental implant treatment include:
- Bone resorption or deterioration is significantly reduced and sometimes eliminated
- The integrity of facial structures is maintained
- Implant-supported dentures offer comfort and stability
- Natural capacity for chewing food is restored