Why Should I Replace My Missing Teeth?
By age seventeen, more than seven percent of Americans are missing at least one permanent tooth, according to studies done by the U.S. Surgeon General. For the sake of oral health, when you lose a tooth it is generally a good idea to have it replaced. Missing teeth can affect your “bite” as well as your ability to speak and chew. Tooth loss can also cause jaw pain, headaches, and increased strain on remaining teeth. Most importantly, perhaps, losing a tooth can affect your overall appearance and self-esteem.
Replacing a missing tooth usually is not an emergency situation. Typically, you have time to make an educated decision as to which replacement option is best for you. Most of the procedures used to replace a tooth can be completed in a month or two.
Several options are available if you are missing one or more teeth.
A “Flipper” is a removable plastic tooth that is inexpensive, but fragile and temporary. The Flipper must be removed for periodic cleanings.
A Partial Denture is also removable, but lasts longer because it is precision cast in metal. Wire clips help hold it in place. Like the Flipper, Partial Dentures must be removed for periodic cleanings.
A Fixed Bridge is permanently cemented into place using crowns or “caps” on the teeth adjacent to the open space. Crown placement usually requires removing or reducing the outer layer of the adjacent teeth. For example, one missing tooth requires three connected crowns, which together literally form a “bridge.”
Complete Dentures are the traditional solution for people who have lost all of their teeth in one or both jaws. The success of a complete denture depends upon your jaw size and shape, your oral habits, and your ability to adapt to the dentures.
Dental Implants can be used to provide support for the replacement of one or all of your teeth. Implant-supported teeth can be made attractive, stable and comfortable for almost any patient. The best way to describe a dental implant is to compare it to a real tooth. Real teeth consist of a root underneath the gum area and a crown on top. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and crown, causing a gap in your mouth. A dental implant is like having a new root made of titanium to replace the lost root of your natural tooth. A crown is made to fit on top of the implant perfectly, thereby creating a new “tooth” that looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth.
If you are missing all of your upper or lower teeth, the Spark Erosion System, (also known as Implant-supported Dentures) is an attractive alternative to traditional dentures. The Spark Erosion System is a highly advanced system that combines implant prosthetics with fixed precision dentures, crown and bridgework. Over time, traditional, removable dentures may begin to feel loose and cause minor irritation or soreness. In addition, traditional dentures can affect what you are able to eat. And because dentures often slip or shift, they can make it difficult to talk the way you used to. In contrast, Spark Erosion Technology can give you the stability and feeling of natural teeth and allow you to bite into foods that you would have had to cut up if you wore dentures.
To choose the tooth replacement option that best fits your needs, consider the comfort, function and appearance of each. And don't forget – some tooth replacement methods last longer than others. So consider whether you are looking for a long- or short-term solution.
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