If one or more teeth are damaged beyond repair, they can be replaced with implants, bridges, and/or dentures. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or an entire arch of teeth. They can also be used to retain dentures os they feel more secure. Through tooth replacement, the aesthetics and the function of the patient’s mouth can remain intact.
Implants are the most complete way to replace missing teeth. They are installed in a multi-step, six to eight month process, which begins when a titanium post is implanted or screwed into the bone to replace the root of the missing tooth. After the surrounding bone heals (usually three to six months after implant placement), a crown is fitted to replace the rest of the missing tooth.
Implanted teeth do not get cavities. However, they must still be flossed and brushed so that your gums stay healthy.
A bridge is simply a series of multiple crowns, which are connected together and then placed in the mouth to fill a gap between existing teeth. A bridge can be anchored to existing teeth or placed over implants. The process of placing a bridge is almost as simple as making a crown, although there is usually an extra step, the cementing of the crowns into the mouth. After the bridge is cemented in place, it stays in the mouth, much as a crown would.
Traditional bridges are crowns that are cemented to the teeth on either side of the gap that they fill. Maryland bridges are crowns that are fused to a metal framework, which is then bonded to the backs of the surrounding teeth with a resin or cement.
Dentures are tooth replacements that are designed for occasional removal from the mouth. They are quite natural in appearance; however, they do not feel as natural as implants or bridgework.
In comparison to bridges, partial dentures are a less expensive option for replacing multiple teeth. A complete denture replaces all of the teeth instead of just a few. Complete dentures can be anchored to the bone through the use of dental implants.