Tooth loss is a surprisingly common problem with estimates suggesting that around 120 million American adults are missing at least one permanent tooth and more than 36 million do not have any natural teeth whatsoever. More shocking still, these numbers are expected to grow over the coming two decades. There can be many different things that cause tooth loss, ranging from injury to severe decay to periodontitis, a gum infection that, left untreated, causes bone loss with eventual loss of teeth.
If you have one or more missing teeth, you are undoubtedly noticing the effect that their absence has on your day to day life. The severity of this impact will depend on how many teeth you have lost and their position in your mouth, but many patients find that their eating and speaking are somewhat compromised. They may also feel self-conscious or even embarrassed about the appearance of their teeth.
Fortunately, there are a number of solutions that can enable you to replace your missing tooth with an artificial alternative and restore the function and appearance of your smile. Two of the most popular options for tooth replacement are dental implants, fixed bridgework, and partial dentures. But how do you know which is right for you?
Dental Implants Explained
Dental implants are an innovative new way of replacing single or multiple missing teeth. Their unique design means that rather than anchoring the replacement to existing teeth, it is instead secured to the jaw bone. This gives the implant unrivaled stability and security without placing any additional pressure on any remaining teeth.
Each implant has two key components. These are:
- A titanium post, which is the part of the implant that is placed into your jaw bone and which your jaw bone heals around to secure it in place.
- A porcelain crown that makes up the visible part of the implant and is custom-designed specifically for each patient.
Dental implants can be used to replace single missing teeth, or in the case of multiple missing teeth, a bridge, partial or full denture can be secured onto pre-placed implant posts.
A Fixed Porcelain Bridge
Fixed porcelain bridgework involves using teeth on each side of a space, where a tooth was lost, to hold a cemented porcelain bridge in place. Bridgework can last many years and in most cases, is an excellent option. However, the adjacent teeth on each side of the space must be reduced to support the bridge.
Partial Dentures Explained
A partial denture is a plate with one or more false teeth attached to it. These plates can vary in size depending on how many teeth are being replaced. These plates are secured into your mouth using special clasps or clips that keep them in place. While the teeth themselves usually blend seamlessly into your smile, many patients find that the clips for their dentures show when their mouth is in certain positions. Equally, they also feel that their denture plate isn’t as secure as it could be. For this reason, patients with a partial denture often avoid eating foods that are hard, sticky or chewy since they are concerned about their denture coming out.
Which is Right For Me – Dental Implants or a Partial Denture?
The answer to this question really depends on how many teeth you have lost and their position. It also depends on your budget for your dental restoration. If you have lost a single tooth, a dental implant is the best choice to fill the individual gap in your smile. If you have multiple missing teeth that are far apart, you will also need dental implants to replace them since a denture is not an option.
If you have multiple missing teeth close together, then a conventional partial denture can be used to replace them. This is the most economical solution. However, if your budget can stretch to dental implants, an implant-supported partial denture could be a better option. This is because having a device that is implant-supported offers patients a variety of benefits including:
- Improved stability of their replacement teeth
- Total discretion with no embarrassing slips
- No pressure on surrounding teeth
- No loss of bone density in the jaw since implant posts actually stimulate the jaw bone to keep it strong
- No need to worry about taking your denture out to take care of it
- An easy to clean solution that enables you to enjoy better oral health
- Confidence in your smile
- A long-lasting solution with patients that have taken good care of their implants reporting that they have enjoyed upwards of 20 years with their replacement teeth
If you would like to know more about either dental implants or partial dentures, or if you would like to learn more about the benefits of choosing an implant-supported dental solution, please get in touch with Vero Dental Spa in Vero Beach, FL where our team of experts are waiting to offer their knowledge and experience and will help you to make the right decision for you.