Missing teeth can cause serious problems for patients. When one or more teeth go missing for an extended period, bone loss and dental shifting can occur. Additionally, some patients have difficulty eating and speaking normally because of their missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth can improve your oral health, and many people find that tooth replacement enhances their appearance and overall self-confidence. In the past, removable prosthetic tooth restorations were the only way to replace missing teeth, but now there are a variety of options to restore teeth that were lost due to extensive tooth decay, mouth injuries, and other causes. The best tooth restoration option for you will depend on your health history and the condition of your oral health. Below, we’ve provided some information to help you find which option is right for your treatment. We offer many tooth restoration options in our practice, so feel free to contact our office if you’d like more information.
Patients who are looking for a permanent, healthy solution to replace one or more missing teeth should consider dental implants as their primary option for tooth replacement. Dental implants are permanent and secure, allowing you to smile with confidence and enjoy the foods you love. Additionally, dental implants stimulate the jaw bone, preventing bone loss and dental shifting.
Dental implants are an excellent tooth replacement option for patients who are healthy enough to undergo minor dental procedures. If you are healthy enough to undergo a tooth extraction, then you are probably healthy enough to receive dental implants.
How Dental Implants Work
Dental implants consist of three parts, and the treatment process is a joint effort between you, your oral surgeon, and your dentist. The dental implant has a base (also called the screw) that replaces the tooth’s root beneath the gums. This screw is surgically inserted by an oral surgeon. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that replaces the root of the tooth, preventing bone loss and other oral health problems. After the surgical site heals, a connecting piece will be attached to the screw, and your dentist will attach a custom-made prosthetic tooth to your dental implant via this connector.
For patients who are missing most or all of their teeth on the upper or lower jaw, full-arch replacement is a permanent, dental implant-based solution to restore your smile. People who are candidates for full-arch replacement can enjoy a beautiful new set of teeth that is securely held in place by dental implants. This secure hold allows patients to eat, speak, and smile confidently with no risk of the teeth slipping or falling out. Full-arch replacements are a great alternative to removable dentures for some patients.
Like with dental implants, patients who wish to receive a full-arch restoration must be healthy enough to undergo a minor surgical procedure. The best way to determine whether or not you are a candidate for a full-arch restoration is to schedule a consultation appointment with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Oral surgeons can evaluate your oral health situation and help determine if full-arch replacements are right for you.
Patients looking to replace one or more teeth in a row may opt to get a bridge from their general dentist. Tooth-supported bridges work by “bridging” the gap left by a missing tooth. The teeth surrounding the missing tooth site are ground down to fit the bridge, and the bridge snaps over the teeth, filling in the place that the missing tooth once was. Some bridges are removable, but often bridges are permanently bonded to the teeth using an adhesive.
Patients are often drawn to bridges because they can be a cost-effective option, but it is important to note that bridges usually have to be replaced after several years of use, unlike dental implants and implant-supported bridges. Some patients are also uncomfortable with the idea of grinding down or damaging their remaining healthy teeth to replace a missing tooth. Discuss any concerns you have with your dentist or oral surgeon to learn about your other tooth replacement options.
Full or Partial Dentures
Removable dentures were once the only way to replace missing teeth, and today they are still a popular choice for patients who are unable to undergo surgery. Patients who want a removable option to replace their teeth may also find dentures and partial prostheses appealing. Some patients’ mouths are not shaped in a way that allows a denture to fit securely or comfortably. This causes uncomfortable sores and denture slipping. In these cases, oral surgeons can sometimes perform pre-prosthetic surgery to prepare your mouth for a comfortable denture fit.
Dentures are a great option for patients looking for a removable tooth replacement solution. Dentures allow patients to chew food more easily and smile with a full mouth of teeth but also take them out when they are not in use. Dentists typically fit you for dentures, but an oral surgeon may be needed for a pre-prosthetic surgery when patients face difficulties finding a comfortable and secure fit.
Tooth Replacement Solutions at Brazos Oral & Facial Surgery
We offer a variety of dental implant-based tooth restoration solutions at our practice. If you are interested in learning which tooth replacement is right for you, contact our office to schedule a consultation with our experienced oral surgeon, Dr. Warren.