Tooth Replacement Options
You can select from a number of different options to replace your missing teeth – from temporary to long-lasting solutions.
A good candidate is anyone missing one or more teeth, or who is unhappy with their dentures. Age is not a factor. However, smoking, diseases such as diabetes, and radiation therapy to the area, have been shown to lower the success rate of implant placement.
X-rays of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether they will accommodate implants. Detailed x-rays may also be required to determine if other tests or procedures are needed to place implants properly.
Fixed partial dentures are also called fixed bridges. They are non-removable dental prostheses that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Common types of fixed partial dentures include:
Traditional bridge — consists of ceramic, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or all-metal like gold. Traditional bridges have one or more fake teeth and two dental crowns on each side that hold the bridge in place.
Cantilever bridge — a cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge. However, this type of bridge only supports the fake tooth from one side.
Maryland bridge — Maryland bridges are made of porcelain or gold. They have “wings” that bond to the adjacent teeth, which keeps the bridge stable.
This type of bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth.
Implant-supported bridge — dental implants entirely support these bridges. They are ideal for patients who are missing three or more back teeth.
A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper”. An acrylic partial denture is often a temporary option that consists of a removable acrylic base, a plastic replacement tooth or teeth, and optional metal clasps. This type of denture is less effective and comfortable than a cast metal partial denture. Acrylic partials are the least expensive type of removable denture and are not meant to last a long time.
Partial dentures, also called partials, are artificial replacement teeth that restore a few missing teeth in a patient’s mouth. This is a less fragile option, using a removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic. It is held in place by wire clips. A removable partial denture can be removed and reinserted when required by the patient. The surrounding tissues in the oral cavity support the partials. Partials replace a few missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Full dentures, on the other hand, replace an entire set of teeth.
The most common solution, for people missing all of their teeth in one or both jaws, would be complete dentures. At times, patients find them uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape.
For a more comfortable and permanent solution, Dr. Nathan Eberle MD, DDS, FACS recommends dental implants. Dental implants form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place.
Why Select Dental Implants over More Traditional Types of Restorations?
There are several reasons: A dental bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.