Spaces left by missing teeth eventually cause the surrounding teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a maligned bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to cavities, gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Dental bridges restore the look of your smile by replacing missing teeth with porcelain that can look as natural as the original. Dental bridges are not only aesthetic but they can also restore or maintain proper chewing, biting and speaking and can maintain the proper form for your bite and proper shape of your face.
Bridges are fixed dental restorations that fill the space where one or more teeth are missing. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Bridges can be made from metal, porcelain or a combination of the two materials. We can help you decide which to use, based on your needs and concerns. Determining whether you need a dental bridge, and weighing the benefits and drawbacks of dental bridges compared to other dental treatment options, is best done by speaking to one of the dental professionals at Spring Creek Dental.
Replacing missing teeth with dentures is one solution to improving your appearance and smile. Without support from the denture, facial muscles sag, making a person look older. Dentures can make eating and speaking more natural, while boosting self confidence. Dentures are custom-made replacements for missing teeth and their surrounding tissues. While dentures can take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.
A full denture replaces all of the teeth in a dental arch. A conventional full denture is made and placed in a patient’s mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed, which may take several months. An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. Dentures can be removable or they can be made to attach to dental implants, thereby markedly increasing their stability and effectiveness.
A partial denture is another option to replace multiple missing teeth in an arch. Partials are fabricated with a supportive framework made of either metal or clear acrylic that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable and more economical alternative to dental bridges.
A temporary removable partial denture or “flipper” is a partial denture made entirely of acrylic and used to replace usually one or two anterior missing teeth.
Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth. Implants are titanium posts that are surgically placed and then fuse with the jawbone, offering firm support to single teeth, dental bridges or dentures. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth — an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit helps the dentures and bridges — as well as individual crowns placed over implants — feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.
For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible, due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging. In addition, ordinary dental bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.
Dental implants offer the additional benefit of helping to preserve the jawbone after teeth have been lost or extracted. This maintains your natural facial profile. Implants are also a good value as they can last a lifetime with good care. There are special considerations related to dental implants concerning placement, treatment time, restoration and maintenance protocol. Implants are not an option for everyone. If you have been considering dental implants it is a good idea to carefully discuss treatment with your dentist to determine if you are a good candidate.