How do we replace missing teeth?
We are fortunate to have many options for replacements for missing teeth.
Fixed or Removable? Implant or Bridge? One tooth-multiple teeth-all teeth?
I'll discuss several options briefly. It is impossible to be complete here as the subject would fill a text book. My Staff and I are happy to discuss any questions you may have.
Fixed or removable?
Fixed replacements are placed in the mouth on existing teeth or on implants and stay there. Removable replacements can be removed for cleaning.
What is a fixed bridge?
A fixed bridge is a series of crowns placed on natural teeth that includes one or more missing teeth. The crowns are attached to each other.
What are removable replacements?
Removable replacements are used during implant treatment as transitional treatment. They are also used as replacements for several teeth when implants are not an option or when more economical treatment is preferred. The ultimate removable replacement is the full denture.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants represent one of the most outstanding advancements in dentistry. The use of titanium implants in dentistry began in 1965 in Sweden. It came to the U.S. in the 1980's and has been refined and improved ever since. Placement of today's implants is gentle and not difficult for the patient. There is a high success rate. Crowns that are made on these implants are very esthetic and will match nearby teeth very well. It is possible to replace all upper and/or lower teeth with a series of implants and crowns.
Dental implants are titanium cylinders that are gently placed in bone. Then replacement teeth are built on them. These are very successful and can replace one or more teeth. We are able to replace front teeth beautifully with an implant and porcelain crown so that it can't be distinguished from adjacent natural teeth or other crowns. Back teeth can be replaced very well with implants also.
Implants are a team effort. The implant(s) are placed by a Periodontist or Oral Surgeon. I restore the implants. One implant or multiple implants can be placed as needed up to replacements for an entire arch.
Implant of fixed bridge? How do we choose?
It is necessary to ask and answer a series of questions to determine what the best treatment would be in a given situation or to give the patient a choice of 2 viable treatments.
• Front tooth/teeth or back?
• Is there enough bone to accommodate an implant?
• What is the periodontal condition?
• Do teeth adjacent to the space have large fillings?
• Do teeth adjacent to the space need treatment?
• Are adjacent teeth esthetic?
• How much time and how many steps are required for each restoration?
• Is there a cost differential?
• Are there other needs that should be addressed in this mouth?
• Is the patient's overall health adequate to undergo the contemplated treatment?
We have sophisticated diagnostic tools like 3-D CT Scans and computer guided implant planning to supplement our traditional methods of digital x-rays and models. These methods are used to evaluate the feasibility of extensive implant treatment and to guide us in exact implant placement.