During dental school and my first years as a practicing dentist, I was fascinated by the science and techniques behind dental implants. I’ve continued to expand my knowledge of dental implants, and now, years later, I can offer dental implants for just about anyone with missing teeth. We can place dental implants to replace single missing teeth or to secure full arches of new, permanent teeth.
Dental implants are so effective because they merge with the jawbone. Dental implants are made from titanium, which naturally fuses with the jawbone. Once the implants are healed, we can restore them with crowns, bridges, or even dentures. This is just a short synopsis about dental implants. Today, I want to provide information about how dental implants compare with other replacement teeth options. We dentists have more than one way to replace your missing teeth, so it’s important that you know the facts before making a BIG decision about your oral health.
Dental implants vs. traditional bridges
What’s the best way to replace a missing tooth? Well, that depends on your oral health goals and your budget. It’s important to replace a single missing tooth because the gap in the mouth can cause alignment issues, and it’s also an eyesore. We typically restore missing teeth with either bridges or dental implants, but the two treatments could not be anymore different. Bridges have been used for hundreds of years in some format or another. A bridge is a restoration that fills the gap (or bridges the gap) caused by the missing tooth. To support a bridge, we need to file down the adjacent teeth next to the missing tooth. Once the teeth are prepared, we’ll fashion a bridge consisting of three or more dental crowns.
The reasons we often advise patients to replace missing teeth with dental implants instead of bridges is that placing a bridge is much more invasive. Instead of addressing the missing tooth, we have to prepare the teeth next to the missing tooth. If we use dental implants, there is no need to file down your healthy teeth. The dental implant only addresses the missing tooth.
Dental implants vs. removable dentures
Much like bridges, removable dentures have been used in dentistry for years. In fact, dentures were around long before the modern age of dentistry. The concept of dentures is simple. These devices replace the teeth and cover gaps in the smile. Removable dentures can be used to replace several missing teeth or all of the teeth. The important fact to consider about removable dentures is the biting force. Removable dentures only have a fraction of the biting power of natural teeth. This makes it difficult to eat the food you love. Additionally, people with traditional dentures often see their jawbone change shape over time. Losing jawbone structure is a natural side effect of losing the teeth. This process gives the face a sunken in look and will produce wrinkles around the mouth.
Dental implants preserve the jawbone and can give you a biting force that nearly mimics your natural teeth. We often use a system known as All-on-4 dental implants for patients who are missing all their teeth. Instead of placing an implant for every missing tooth, we strategically place four implants around each arch and then restore the implants with permanent teeth. All-on-4 dental implants are ideal because the final restoration leave the upper palate upper, giving you more tastes that you never had with clunky removable dentures.
In reading this blog, you probably now understand why I’m such a proponent of dental implants. Dental implants allow you to eat the food you want, preserve your jawbone, and make you look and feel much healthier. If you are struggling with missing teeth or want a solution to your removable dentures, call our office today 503-388-4691.