Implant Treatment Options

Single Tooth Replacement

People missing one tooth, or even a few teeth, no longer have to rely on traditional bridges that destroy healthy tooth structure to span the gap. A more conservative and longer-lasting option can be found withdental implants, which can replace one or more teeth to complete your smile!

Traditional bridges require grinding healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth, into pegs to fit crowns that hold the bridge in place.  And although bridges have a longstanding history in dentistry, crowning perfectly healthy teeth, which compromises the long-term health of the teeth, is not a conservative procedure.

This method of tooth replacement can be very esthetic and functional for a period of time.  However, a traditional bridge does not replace the bone that previously surrounded the root of the tooth. Since there is no longer a root to hold the bone in place, the bone deteriorates, or melts away.

With dental implants no healthy teeth are compromised.  Furthermore, dental implants preserve the supporting bone. Cared for properly, with regular check-ups, cleanings, and daily oral hygiene, dental implants can last a lifetime.

There are many advantages to replacing a single missing tooth with an implant-supported crown:

  • It looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth
  • It is much more esthetic long term
  • It does not decay
  • There is no need to grind down the adjacent natural teeth into pegs as with a traditional bridge
  • The bone is preserved, preventing a visible bony defect
  • It is more hygienic (easier to clean) than a traditional bridge

Replacing Multiple Missing Teeth

Often when people lose their back teeth, they replace them with a removable partial denture.  Sometimes, they don’t replace the back teeth at all, thinking that if they don’t show when smiling, they don’t need to be replaced.  If back teeth are not replaced, your bite (how upper and lower teeth fit together) will be compromised, which may result in headaches, teeth grinding, and other problems associated with TMJ disorder.  This also happens with a removable partial that no longer fits properly due to bone resorption, or deterioration.

A removable partial actually accelerates the bone resorption process, resulting in more rapid bone deterioration. In addition, the clasps that hold the partial in place put extreme pressure on the natural teeth they hook onto, loosening them and in many cases, eventually leading to the loss of those teeth. Most patients with partial dentures state that they are uncomfortable and that they rarely wear them.

Also, as the bite collapses from the bone loss, the facial appearance will change, visibly aging the lower half of the face with cheeks sinking inward and increased wrinkles around the mouth.  Additionally, in order to accommodate chewing, the remaining teeth will shift out of place, moving toward the space left by missing teeth, and the front teeth will begin to flare out.

However, all of these problems can be eliminated if missing back teeth are replaced. Dental implants will preserve bone and implant-supported replacement teeth will restore a proper bite (the way the upper and lower teeth come together). Surrounding teeth will not have space to shift out of place, which means that the appearance of the smile will stay intact. Replacing back teeth with dental implants will also give the facial skin underlying structure for a more youthful appearance.

The advantages of replacing multiple missing teeth with implant-supported bridges include the following:

  • They look, feel, and function like natural teeth
  • They are more comfortable and stable than partial dentures
  • Natural biting and chewing capacity is restored
  • They virtually stop the bone resorption (deterioration) process
  • The integrity of the facial structures in maintained
  • Adjacent natural teeth are not compromised
  • A more youthful appearance can be renewed

Replacing All of the Teeth

In the past, people who were missing all of their teeth had not option but dentures.  This prosthesis has numerous disadvantages, such as:

  • Dentures are uncomfortable and often cause sores on the gums.
  • People with dentures age visibly much faster than people with their natural teeth.
  • With dentures, it is not possible to eat certain foods, like steak or apples.
  • Dentures can fall out when laughing, or even sneezing.
  • Wearing dentures can undermine a person’s self-confidence.
  • People with dentures usually have bad breath.

Over time, dentures need to be relined, repaired, and eventually, replaced, because the bone that previously supported the teeth begins to resorb, or deteriorate once the teeth are missing.  Unfortunately, dentures actually accelerate this resorption (deterioration) process, which is why people have problems with proper fit and function of their dentures.

These problems can be solved with implant-retained dentures, which are securely fastened to the implants, creating a stable, “snug” fit.  Implant-retained dentures will also maintain the integrity of the facial structures by preserving the underlying bone.

Some of the many advantages of implant-supported replacement teeth include the following:

  • They are more comfortable and stable than traditional dentures
  • They virtually stop the bone resorption (deterioration) process
  • Integrity of the facial structures is maintained
  • Appearance is improved
  • It is not necessary to cover the roof of the mouth, so food can still be tasted
  • Relines and repairs are infrequent compared to traditional dentures
  • Natural biting and chewing capacity is restored
  • There is no need for messy adhesives