There are several tooth replacement options for lost, removed or congenitally missing teeth. You may opt for the traditional dentures and bridges or choose the modern technique of installing dental implants.
Importance of Tooth Replacement
Many people fail to see the importance of replacing lost teeth.
- While most people would be self-conscious if tooth loss is evident, they wouldn’t consider it important to have it replaced if not for aesthetic purposes.
- People smile better when they have nice teeth. That’s a fact. Missing teeth or gaps between their teeth would affect their self-esteem and confidence. A simple tooth replacement can fix that.
More than aesthetic purposes, tooth loss changes not only the bone and gum but also neighboring teeth.
- Bone Loss - When a tooth is removed, the bone that supports the teeth shrinks over time. Resorption happens, creating a depressed cavity. This leads to another problem.
- Drifting - When there are gaps or space between teeth, neighboring teeth tend to “drift” into the empty space. If resorption has already happened, not only will teeth “drift” into the space, they have the tendency to lean towards it, affecting one’s bite and jaw alignment. The opposing tooth in the jaw will also go down into that empty space (super erupt).
When all these happen, teeth and gums are predisposed to decay, gum disease and even affect one’s bite (occlusion). These would all affect your face and smile.
Tooth Replacement Options
A bridge is a restoration made to space in between teeth. Fixed bridges are bonded or cemented into place. Only your dentist can remove it. Adjacent teeth between spaces are prepared to attach the bridge.
Advantages: It looks, feels and functions like natural teeth and costs less than implants.
Disadvantages: Adjacent teeth are affected since they are “thinned” to be able to attach the bridge. Cleaning also requires extra effort. Special flossing is needed to keep the bridge and the surrounding tissue healthy.
Dentures are easily taken out of the month. Replacement teeth are fixed to a base that matches the color of your gums. There are full or complete and partial dentures.
The key in wearing dentures is having a perfect fit. Dr. Reese makes sure that he personally creates a custom-fit denture that will not only look natural but FEEL natural too. He has the belief that no one has to know you’re wearing dentures. He has trained extensively and has garnered more than 25 years of experience to arrange teeth in a manner that mimics your natural teeth.
Advantages: They are easier to repair and less expensive than bridges or implants.
Disadvantages: Since fit is crucial, dentures need to be replaced from time to time as one’s bone density and bite changes as one gets older. They can also break or be lost since they shouldn't stay inside your mouth for 24 hours straight. Cleaning them in a solution overnight and brushing afterwards is recommended.
Installing dental implants is considered the newest tooth replacement option in the field of dentistry. Implants are titanium posts that are place in the upper or lower jaw to serve as an anchor for replacement teeth. Titanium is a strong and lightweight metal accepted by the body. It is also used in hip replacement and bone fracture surgeries.
Advantages: Dental implants are the most similar to natural teeth. They also help prevent shrinkage of bone from tooth loss. Adjacent teeth do not need to be involved in the procedure unlike bridges. And unlike dentures, implants last for many years.
Disadvantages: Implants cost more than other treatment options. Since surgery is required, it is not for everyone. Patients should be in good health. They should either have adequate jawbone to support an implant or be qualified to have surgery to build the area for implant. Patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and leukemia, are not good candidates. Smoking will also delay healing.
Know Your Options. Talk to Dr. Reese
Dr. Reese has been doing restorative and surgical dental work for over 25 years. He regularly trains and studies new and improved techniques, being an accredited Fellow of American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
He will be able to assess your dental situation and recommend the best tooth replacement option for you. His clinic, the Indianapolis Dentistry, is located just north of Greenwood, Indiana in Southport, just five minutes south of I-465 on US 31 between I-65 and Highway 37. Call 317-882-0228 for directions or use this map.