If you are missing one or more teeth, you should be aware of its effect on your appearance and health.
When smiling and talking, the visible space created by a missing tooth may look like a dark spot surrounded by ivory and it may have a negative impact on your over-all smile and facial appearance. American culture places a high value on looking good with a full set of teeth showing.
Your health may be effected over time when missing teeth are not timely replaced. Speaking, chewing, and digestion are all effected by missing teeth. The space remaining after tooth loss changes the air flow patterns and makes certain pronunciations awkward. Effective chewing of food is essential for normal digestion. Missing teeth may inhibit easy chewing of a variety of foods, often with the essential dietary fibers becoming excluded. Over time, the area of missing teeth suffers from bone atrophy, the dimensional and density changes of the jaw bone. Secondly, adjacent teeth tend to drift toward the space. This drift opens up contact between teeth and promotes food impaction, and which in turn increases the risk for gum disease or tooth decay. Lastly, as teeth drift, the contact points of the chewing surfaces of opposing teeth change and lead to a malocclusion. Malocclusions place poorly directed biting forces against tooth structure ill-designed to resist harmful stress, and this often leads to excessive structural wear and fracture.
A dental implant most closely replicates the natural tooth, and is a non-removable replacement for a missing tooth. The implant fixture is a mineral coated titanium cylinder which is inserted into the jawbone beneath the gum, and fuses to the bone during a healing period called osseous integration. The replacement tooth consisting of a crown and abutment is later fabricated to attach to the supporting implant fixture. The crown is designed to accurately blend with the contour and color of the adjacent natural teeth. Implant placement does not involve or attach to adjacent teeth, and may help prevent further shrinkage and atrophy of jawbone. Additionally, implants can be used to support bridges, partial dentures, or complete dentures.
A fixed bridge is a time honored, non-removable replacement for missing teeth. It spans the space of one or more missing teeth by attaching to either adjacent natural teeth or to implants. The bridge is attached by bonding or cementing. The bridge is designed to accurately blend with the contour and color of the adjacent natural teeth and to maintain the natural shape of the face through lip and cheek support. Because it is non-movable, a bridge will function in a manner similar to natural teeth.
Partial Dentures or Removable Bridges
A partial denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. Most often, the replacement teeth are secured with gum colored plastic bases, and the bases are connected by a metal framework. The removable partial attaches to the adjacent natural teeth. It is designed to maintain the natural shape of the face through lip and cheek support, and to blend with the color of the natural teeth. A partial denture will help stabilize the arches by preventing drifting teeth.
Removable Complete Denture
Dentures can be made to look like natural teeth. Your smile is enhanced through the selection of appropriately sized, contoured, and colored lab processed teeth. Dentures also enhance appearance by regaining the natural shape of the face by supporting the lips and cheeks. Additionally, dentures may help one consume a more balanced diet.