We work with many patients who have lost multiple teeth due to dental disease or trauma. Fortunately, there are a number of options available in dentistry today to replace missing teeth, including dental implants, bridges, and partial and complete dentures. You’ll be amazed by how natural your smile can look, even after losing multiple teeth.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of replacing those missing teeth and the different options to change your smile for the better.
Do missing teeth actually need to be replaced?
While most people want to replace their missing teeth, some wonder if it’s actually worth the cost and effort. The vast majority of the time, however, we highly recommend the replacement of missing teeth for several reasons.
First, replacing the lost teeth will protect your bite and prevent further health complications. Lost teeth will impact your bite long after the teeth are gone. Without a resistant opposing force, adjacent teeth will try to fill the gaps by moving into the empty spaces. In some cases, these teeth will extend so far that they become loose and are at risk of being lost, as well.
Second, having a bad or unbalanced bite can make chewing difficult and result in jaw pain. Jaw pain can get really bad for some patients and become a constant problem. Chewing your food is a surprisingly important part of the digestive process, and missing teeth can have a negative impact on this, as well.
Third, tooth loss impacts the appearance of your smile. While you may think this isn’t important, studies have shown the opposite to be true. A healthy smile provides people with more confidence and gives others a more positive impression of who you are.
For all these reasons and more, we believe that missing teeth should be replaced. So what are your options?
Dental implants are the gold standard for teeth replacement. Essentially, you replace the roots with titanium posts. These are fused securely into your jawbone and act as anchors for your replacement teeth. Those replacement teeth are created in a lab and designed to match the look and feel of your natural bite.
Implants can replace one or more teeth. Some patients will choose to combine a bridge with an implant to reduce the number of titanium posts that are required.
Pros of Dental Implants:
- They are secure and will not fall out of your mouth, and they last for many years
- Implants are easy to clean and can be treated like your natural teeth
- They provide the closest match to the look and feel of your natural teeth
- Implants promote a healthy jawbone
Cons of Dental Implants:
- It takes a few months for the titanium posts to fuse with the jawbone
- If you have a weak jawbone, bone grafting might be required
- They require surgery
- They typically cost more than other options
A dental bridge relies on adjacent teeth to support a “false” tooth (or multiple teeth) and to fill the space created by tooth loss. A bridge can either be supported by natural teeth or dental implants. If supported by natural teeth, the natural teeth will usually need to be grinded down and covered with a crown to provide the necessary support.
Bridges are custom-made using restorative materials such as semi-precious metals, gold or porcelain depending on the location in the mouth and necessary tolerance to biting and chewing.
Pros of Dental Bridges:
- They have the look and feel of natural teeth
- Typically cost less than implants
Cons of Dental Bridges:
- Placement requires the grinding away (or damaging) of the healthy, adjacent teeth to the bridge
- No jawbone stimulation like with implants, which could lead to the fading of the jawbone
- Can be difficult to clean
Dentures are removable replacement teeth that are taken out for cleaning and sleeping. They are designed to fit around your gums and held there by a good fit or the support of your natural teeth. Dentures can also be supported by implants for a more secure fit.
Dentures can be either Partial or Complete. Partial dentures replace a few of your teeth and connect in with your remaining natural teeth, while complete dentures replace all of your teeth.
Pros of Dentures
- They are usually the least expensive
- They do not require surgery (unless you opt for implant supported dentures)
- They look better than having no teeth
- You can remove them when you want
Cons of Dentures
- They can fall out when you do not want them to
- They can impact your speech
- They do not support healthy jawbone structure
- They must be removed for cleaning every day
- They can break if you drop them and can be lost
What is the right option for you?
Now that you know the primary options for replacing multiple teeth, you’re probably wondering which one is right for you. The best way to answer this question is to visit your dentist. We will listen to your needs and concerns, take a look at your teeth, and discuss the best options for you and your health.
If you’re in the Cumming, GA area then you should contact us here at Bragg Dental. Dr. Bragg has extensive experience providing replacement teeth for patients and is passionate about restoring people’s smiles. See you soon!