Having healthy teeth isn’t just important for your appearance. Strong, healthy teeth impact how you eat and speak, and play an important role in your every day life. There are a number of reasons why a person might lose a tooth or several teeth; gum disease, poor hygiene, injury or trauma, or infection to name just a few.
At Southview Dentistry, we are committed to finding the solution to best restore or replace missing teeth. When you first visit our office, you will have a comprehensive visit with our hygienists, followed by a full evaluation by dentists who review your photos and x-rays and discuss all of your treatment options with you.
Missing a tooth or many teeth? Implants and tooth replacements can provide you with the closest thing to having your real teeth back. Implants are made of titanium and integrate into your jaw bone, like the root of your original tooth. A post, or abutment, can then be placed inside the implant, which can then have a crown attached. An implant’s function and care are just like a normal tooth, and you are able to brush and floss around an implant.
Implants also offer a great option for that denture that never seems to stay in place. Instead of a crown being placed on top of the implant, a connection can be placed that will snap inside your denture to keep it in place.
At Southview we work with a few trusted specialist that have placed hundreds of implants. You’ll have a consultation with the specialist first, and they will determine if you are a good candidate for implants. Because the post is surgically placed, you must be in good health and able to undergo anesthesia.
After the post is placed, you’ll return to Dr. Kelly and Dr. Micheal to place the permanent crown or make your implant retained denture. You may need to wait a short period of time for the implant to heal before the crown can be placed. During this time, the dentist may recommend a temporary bridge or crown so that you are able to eat comfortably.
Other Tooth Replacement Options
If you are not a candidate for implants or don’t want to wait on the healing and integration process of an implant, there are other tooth replacement options.
For a few missing teeth, a bridge is a good alternative. A bridge fills in the space where the tooth or teeth are missing by attaching to the adjacent teeth. This procedure usually requires multiple visits.
On the first visit, we prepare the teeth adjacent to your missing teeth for porcelain crowns. The replacement teeth are made of tooth shaped porcelain and are cemented in between the crowns. The bridge looks and functions just like your regular teeth. Flossing may be a bit more difficult with a bridge than an implant due to the difficulty of getting the floss under the bridge. However, bridges can be a better alternative than implants in some cases, especially for patients with gum or bone defects. Bridges are permanent restorations and are not removable.
If implants and bridges are not an option then a removable partial denture may be the next option. Partial dentures contain replacement teeth that are attached to a plastic base and contain clasps to connect the denture to the teeth. There are different types of partials from ones with metal clasps to ones that are more tooth colored or gum colored clasps.
Partial dentures can take some getting used to. They may initially fit a little snug, requiring an adjustment by your dentist. Follow up visits may be required to make sure that pressure points or sore spots aren’t developing.
Partials are less expensive and invasive than implants or bridges, however, they do tend to need more care and caution when using them. They should always be removed at night because the teeth on partials are not as strong as your natural teeth or porcelain crowns, therefore they can be damaged if you grind your teeth.
The final option may be a full set of dentures, which will sit on top of the gums. Dentures are a lower cost alternative to implants or bridges, though they can take some getting used to and can sometimes be uncomfortable. Dentures, however, should never be painful. We will schedule multiple visits to make sure you are happy with the way your new dentures look and feel.
You may need periodic adjustments as time goes on. This is quite common; as you age, your mouth may change slightly. Bone or tooth structure can shrink, and gums can recede, which can result in poorly fitting dentures and discomfort. It is important to mention all sore spots to your dentist so they can be adjusted if needed. Like partials dentures, you should remove your dentures at night.
If you already have dentures and are considering a more permanent solution, it may be possible to add implants as well.
Dr. Micheal and Dr. Kelly and the entire team at Southview Dentistry aim to make sure that you are comfortable and satisfied with how your tooth replacement looks and feels. From the very first meeting with your dentist, they will discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option and help you make the right decision for your situation.