TOOTH REPLACEMENT

The number of options available for tooth replacement can be overwhelming. Which one is right for you? Each alternative comes with its own set of benefits and shortcomings. Our team at Eastboro Dental can help you become aware of the possibilities and select the right fit for your own unique set of circumstances.

One thing that is constant across all tooth replacement alternatives is that it is best and easiest to replace a missing tooth immediately following its removal. A prolonged absence of the tooth may result in the other teeth shifting in to the space, the contour of the jawbone changing or the bone itself suffering from resorbtion and becoming more brittle.

Whatever option you select, we encourage you to address missing teeth as quickly as possible.

Dental Implants

When a patient is missing one or more teeth, Implant Dentistry offers a variety of effective and long-lasting solutions. The goal of Implant Dentistry is to permanently replace a missing tooth (or several teeth) with artificial prosthetic teeth – without involving any natural teeth in the process. Dental implant treatment consists of two phases: Phase I – Dental Implant Placement, Phase II – Dental Implant Restoration.

Dental Implant Placement:

Dental implants are very small titanium components resembling ordinary screws. They are designed to replace dental roots and hold the prosthetic restorations (crowns, bridges or dentures) firmly in place. After the implants are (surgically) placed in the jaw bone, the bone starts to slowly grow around it as if it were a root (a process called osseointegration). In three to six months this process is completed and the implant is ready to be restored with a prosthesis.

Dental Implant Restoration:

The restoration of implants is relatively simple. Approximately six months after surgery the protective abutment is removed from each implant and a restorative prosthesis is immediately screwed on. A single tooth is replaced by an implant supported crown, several teeth by an implant supported bridge and if all teeth are missing, a fixed implant supported denture is put in place.

Dental implants have now been used for several decades and overall, their performance record is impressive. Their appearance, functionality and durability seem to please both patients and dentists alike.

Dental Bridges

A very common and popular treatment solution for patients who are missing one or more teeth is a dental bridge. A bridge is a set of prosthetic teeth that is permanently attached (on both ends) to the adjacent natural teeth. This fixed type of restoration is generally preferred over its removable counterpart – the removable partial denture – because it provides better support and stability and allows for better biting and chewing. There are, however, certain disadvantages. First, in order to attach and support the bridge, adjacent natural teeth have to be reduced in size and capped. Second, food and bacteria can sometimes collect underneath the bridge and gum disease may become a factor. Finally, lack of root structure may eventually lead to the recession and fragility of the jaw bone.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures can be fixed or removable.

Fixed Partial Dentures include the traditional dental bridges and also the more recent and innovative implant supported bridges. Both types of restorations are permanently attached – either to the adjacent natural teeth (traditional bridges) or to the small titanium screws implanted in the jaw bone (implant supported bridges). An important advantage of fixed restorations is their stability and support which significantly improves biting and chewing ability.

Removable Partial Dentures are sets of prosthetic teeth that are attached to the natural teeth by several metal clasps, and can be easily removed and reinserted without professional help. Generally speaking, removable dentures do not deliver quite the same level of functionality (i.e. biting and chewing ability) as their fixed counterparts.

Complete Dentures

For patients with no teeth left, complete dentures remain the only treatment option. As is the case with partial dentures, complete dentures can be fixed or removable.

Conventional removable dentures are full sets of prosthetic replacement teeth that are first custom- fitted by the dentist and then manufactured in a dental laboratory. After necessary adjustments back in the office, the dentures are ready for use. With diminished support and stability, the overall functionality (i.e. biting and chewing ability) of complete removable dentures is often less than ideal. In addition, in the absence of any root structure, over time, there is an increased risk of bone loss and fragility.

Fixed complete dentures are full sets of prosthetic teeth that are permanently attached to several dental implants. The implants are strategically placed (“implanted”) in the jaw bone. This fixed and permanent attachment to dental implants significantly improves the overall functionality of the denture(s) and most patients report exceptional satisfaction with the results.