Losing teeth or having failing teeth is a problem that plagues millions of Americans. At our San Antonio TX dental office we are focused on replacing missing teeth with dental implants. We can sit with patients and decide what will work best for their smile.
We have a number of ways in which we can restore your mouth and replace missing teeth. We humans have been struggling with missing teeth forever. The good news is that you have multiple ways to restore your mouth. So today, we want to mention a few ways you can fix your smile. We want to highlight bad, good, and great restoration options.
How do you replace missing teeth?
It’s no secret that missing teeth are an eyesore. Missing teeth also make it difficult to chew your food, especially if you are missing multiple teeth or all of your teeth. The number one reason for tooth loss is gum disease. Gum disease can attack the soft tissue and hard tissue in the mouth, causing the tooth to become loose. If you have missing teeth, you need to find a replacement option. Here are advantages and disadvantages of replacement tooth options, from bad to great.
BAD: Do Nothing.
Not addressing a missing tooth total loss is detrimental to your oral health and overall health. When you do nothing about single missing teeth, you risk messing up the alignment of your remaining healthy teeth. That can turn into a major problem down the line. Of course, if you’re missing all of your teeth, you cannot eat the food you love. And most healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, have a crunch.
For hundreds of years, dentures and bridges were the primary ways to replace missing teeth. Bridges are ideal for replacing one tooth. When we place bridges, we have to shave down the tooth behind the missing tooth and in front of the missing tooth. Then, we’ll restore the tooth with a series of crowns. Bridges can last years, but placing the bridge is considered slightly invasive.
The most common way to replace missing teeth is by using removable dentures. These dentures can be placed on the upper and lower arch. You can have some chewing ability, but it doesn’t match the power of your natural teeth. Additionally, when the teeth are lost, the jawbone and gums will recede. This physical change reduces the vertical height between your chin and nose and causes wrinkles to develop around the mouth. This is why so many denture wearers have a sunken in look or look older than they really are.
And because dentures are not fixed in the mouth, it’s possible for the appliances to slip and slide around the mouth while you chew your food or speak.
GREAT: Dental implants.
Dental implants are the strongest replacement tooth options. They nearly match the power of your natural teeth. How is that? Well, dental implants are made from titanium and placed into the jawbone. The implants heal to the bone through a process known as osseointegration. This process holds in the implant — it’s actually part of your body at that point — and prevents jawbone recession. These are the two biggest advantages of dental implants: more stability and no more jawbone recession.
Furthermore, our dental implants can be restore with a variety of restorations, including crowns, bridges, dentures or permanent replacement teeth. We can even provide permanent replacement teeth using a method called All-on-4 dental implants. These implants are placed strategically around the arch and then restored with bridges. The upper arch is left open, giving you more tastes and sensations.
When patients come to us with missing teeth, you might be surprised that we steer them in the direction of dental implants. It’s what most us dental professionals would want for ourselves. But of course, it all depends on your smile goals and budget.