Implant Dentistry – Replacing Missing Teeth

Often times dentist are asked by their patients, “Why should I replace missing teeth?” If you ask your dentist why you should replace missing teeth, your dentist may give you several responses depending on the situation and the severity of the issue.

The dentist may replace a missing tooth to enhance and aid a patient in their ability to chew, eat and speak. The dentist may also do different types of restorations for missing teeth that include bridges, dental implants, partial dentures or full dentures.

Bridges replace missing teeth and provide cosmetic and aesthetic advantages. Bridges are generally used when one or more teeth are missing. When there is a gap in the teeth a bridge is used to fill the gap and keep the remaining teeth from shifting. When teeth shift, they can have an impact on the person’s bite and eventually produce jaw pain or other problems. Bridges are inserted and are usually anchored semi-permanently to the adjacent teeth, preventing these issues from occurring.

Dental implants are also used to replace missing teeth for the same reason that bridges are but also offer other distinct advantages. Dental implants not only will give the wearer an enhanced ability to chew food, speak, and will keep teeth from shifting but they are also a permanent fixture in the wearers mouth. Dental implants are permanently anchored to the jaw bone. If a person looses a tooth and does nothing to replace that tooth, over time not only will the other teeth around the missing tooth shift, but the jaw bone where the tooth once was will recede and deteriorate. When a dental implant is placed in the jaw bone, the bone remains active and doesn’t dissipate. Dental implants are also superior to bridges in the amount of crushing force that they can withstand.

People that have many missing teeth and may not be able to afford the high cost usually associated with dental implants may turn to partial or whole dentures to replace missing teeth. Dentures may be used to replace a few missing teeth (partial dentures) or they may be used when all of the teeth, on the top and the bottom of the mouth, are missing. Dentures aid many people in their day to day activities by assisting in eating and speaking and providing the look of regular teeth. Partial dentures are usually clipped on to other teeth to fill gaps and whole dentures are usually attached to the gums using an adhesive. Either type of denture is removable.