Premature tooth loss can dramatically change your appearance, affect your confidence, and diminish your ability to chew. Missing teeth can also affect how others perceive you. Research has shown that how others perceive you can effect your advancement and salary potential in your career. Gaps in your smile can also carry the misconception of being unkempt and uneducated.
When many teeth are missing it can cause you to look older than you are. When someone has worn dentures for years the bone that supports their lips and cheeks continues to erode and can cause deep lines and creases and their face to look sunken in. This bone loss occurs with a single missing tooth, but has a dramatic effect with all of the natural teeth are missing.
Missing teeth result in more force and wear to be applied to the remaining teeth. Teeth on either side and above the space can begin to shift and causing further issues with cleaning and function.
Dental Implants are a modern day approach to tooth replacement. The concept of dental implants began in the 1950’s and further research has refined the practice to what it is today. The science behind how dental implants work is similar to pins and screws that are used in reconstructive medical surgery. Dental implants have been modified to fit into the space of a missing tooth as well as withstand a lifetime of chewing forces. Implants have made a significant change to the practice of dentistry. From replacing a single missing tooth, a removable partial or denture or simply securing a denture for more confidence with eating and speaking dental implants offer a solution to a variety of dental problems.
Before the introduction of Dental Implant a Dental Bridge was the optimal choice for replacing one or more missing teeth. Bridges have the look, feel and perform similarly to natural teeth. The design of the bridge is determined by the position and number or remaining natural teeth. Typically when a tooth is missing, the natural teeth on either side of the space are crowned and a replacement tooth also called a pontic connects the two. It is cemented into place and does not come out. However since the root of the missing tooth has been removed, bone loss will continue under the replacement tooth. Since the two natural teeth are now connected, you will not be able to floss between the teeth but must use an oral irrigator or a floss threader to floss under the bridge.
Partials and Dentures
For many patients who have suffered for years with gums disease, constant cavities and toothaches, partials or dentures are a wonderful solution. Partials and Dentures are removable appliances that replace several or all teeth in an arch, as well as the supporting gum tissue. While partials or dentures can certainly meet esthetic concerns, chewing efficiency can be limited. Partials rely on clasps that rest on natural teeth to support and minimize movement. Newer technology has allowed for more esthetic metal free partials, instead of older styles that rely on metal clasps. Dr. Rushing and Dr. Coulter can discuss designing your partial so that it has hidden support, allowing the best function as well as esthetics.
Dentures unless stabilized or anchored by implants are supported only by gum tissue. Common problems with dentures include loose fitting moving dentures that make it difficult to bit into food.
A person with healthy teeth and gums can chew with a force of 300-500 per square inch. When all teeth are replaced with dentures, bone support deteriorates and muscle atrophy occurs diminishing chewing efficiency to 15-50 psi. This can be improved with the use of implants. Crowns can be anchored to implants or dentures can clip or snap onto implants allowing for a stable bite that can withstand stronger biting forcing. This allows you to bite into food that most denture wearers do not feel comfortable eating.
Contact us to schedule an appointment. Dr. Rushing and Dr. Coulter can determine which options would best suit your particular needs.