Missing Teeth

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There are three alternatives to replace your missing teeth, each with advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes there is a particular advantage or disadvantage that outweighs everything else. We will take the time to discuss each alternative and answer any questions. What we do best is to help each patient find the choice that is right for them.

The alternatives are:

Dental Implant

When the tooth was lost so was the root – A dental implant is a replacement tooth root. Like the natural root, a dental implant will comfortably and securely support the replacement tooth.

ADVANTAGES

  • 99% success rate for over 10 years
  • Decrease adjacent tooth loss from 30% to 0.05% over 10 years.
  • Maintain bone in the area of the missing tooth. If the bone is lost it can cause problems with the neighboring teeth. The boney defect that can result also is quite unsightly. It’s important to save the bone.
  • Adjacent teeth remain intact reducing the risk of decay or need of a root canal.
  • Decrease in cold sensitivity or sensitivity to touch in the neighboring teeth.

DISADVANTAGES

  • Increased time of treatment.
  • Sometimes a higher initial cost, however over time with the reduction in problems with the adjacent teeth, the implant becomes a better alternative economically.

Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge is the traditional way to replace a tooth or sometimes teeth. A fixed bridge does not come in and out. As you can see from the picture, the teeth adjacent to the space are reduced and the bridge is cemented on these teeth. Although it looks like three separate teeth it is actually one piece.

ADVANTAGES

  • Time, usually two appointments about 3 weeks apart.
  • Cost, its less expensive than the other fixed options.
  • If the adjacent teeth require crowns anyway a fixed bridge may be your best option.

DISADVANTAGES

  • Up to 30% loss of supporting teeth in just 8 to 14 years
  • Bone loss in the area of the missing teeth.Increased rate of decay in supporting teeth.
  • Damage to healthy teeth.
  • Increased plaque around replacement tooth leading to periodontal disease.
  • Fracture

Removable Partial Denture

A removable partial denture is the typical “partial” with the silver arms that go around the neighboring teeth.  As its name implies a removable partial denture comes in and out, it can be removed.

ADVANTAGES

  1. Minimum tooth reduction for supporting teeth.
  2. Reduced cost
  3. Can correct large ridge irregularities

DISADVANTAGES

Food for thought…

  1. 40% of partials not used in 4 years
  2. Up to 44% of supporting teeth lost within 10 years. That’s almost 1 out of 2.
  3. 60% of supporting teeth require repair in as little as 5 years
  4. Potential speech problems, loosening of supporting teeth, higher cavity rate and accelerated bone loss in toothless areas.

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