Do you have any missing teeth? What could be the problems of when you have missing teeth and exposing bare gums?

Here’s some of the common ones:
1) Difficulty eating and speaking
2) Appearance of a collapsed face
3) Quality of life and personal self-esteem
4) Impression that makes a person is 20-25 years older

When someone has a tooth missing, there are some options to consider. Typically there are denture, bridge or implant for the patient.

Dentures used to be the treatment of choice many years ago due to their cost-effectiveness and technology that existed back in the day. Now we have a dental bridge that was modified from the dentures but is fixed onto the tooth and is smaller. Implants are devices that are screwed into the bone and capped with a crown.

Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than before.

There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Your dentist will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.

Over a period of time, the dynamicness in the oral cavity will change the condition of your denture. They will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum, you should see your dentist annually for a checkup.

The disadvantages of dentures are also many:

Dentures are uncomfortable, to some patients, often painful and do not look natural enough to mask its appearance from natural dentition. Some denture adhesives contain zinc which research has shown that it can cause neurologic problems. Also, denture wearers have limited taste sensation and often times suffer from bad breath. Besides that, dentures cause bone loss after a period of time.

People with dentures have to be careful what they eat, and can rarely eat anything crunchy or chewy to prevent denture from fracturing. Maintenance have to be given emphasis, patients have to be advised not to drop dentures on the floor. Also, to soak it in water before bed, to prevent microorganisms from colonizing the surface of the denture. Many denture wearers complain about self-consciousness during intimate moments.

Dental bridges and implants are constructed rather differently. A bridge is made of a false tooth suspended between two crowns that the dentist cements onto prepared natural teeth on either side. An implant is a false tooth that’s attached to a titanium post. The false teeth and crowns in bridges and the false teeth in implants are matched to the color of the surrounding teeth. Unlike an implant, the false tooth of a bridge isn’t embedded in the gum.

It is sometimes difficult in deciding between a bridge or implant, time and cost may be important to you. Often, your dentist can provide a bridge over two visits within a few weeks, but if you wish to go for the implant, the waiting time is longer — it takes roughly 3-6 months for the jaw bone to grow around the titanium area of the implant. This is known as osseointegration. It also varies according to the material of choice (porcelain/metal etc.)

Implants itself don’t take longer in general, if we achieve an initial stability of 35cm, we can load it immediately.

What benefits does implant have over bridges and dentures?
1) Assist in restoring natural chewing capacity as it comes with increased stability in the oral cavity.
2) Maintains mouth function, including the palate so foods can be fully tasted and enjoyed when you can sense the differences between hot and cold.
3) for implants, no need to grind teeth as in some bridge cases

An oral examination evaluating hard and soft tissue relevant to implant placement is imperative. A dental clinician should examine periodontal health, interarch spaces, the existing teeth and prosthetics, vestibular depths, jaw relationships, and maximum incisal opening. Additionally, the clinician should also take the time to review for parafunctional habits, including clenching and grinding, observing for wear facets on the occlusal surfaces.

Who is a good candidate for implant treatment? If you’re in an excellent state of health with healthy gums and adequate bone to support an implant, then you might be a suitable candidate. You must be committed to thorough dental hygiene to keep your mouth healthy and to scheduling regular dental visits. Hygiene, is important to prevent peri-implantitis.

Still, understand that there are contraindications to implant treatment. Absolute contraindications to implant placement include acute illnesses in the oral cavity, magnitude of defect/anomaly, uncontrolled metabolic disease, bone and/or soft tissue pathology/infection. uncontrolled metabolic diseases like diabetes, certain medication, biphosphonate intake, drug abuse and heavy drinking. The long-term success of properly placed implants is highly dependent on restorative biomechanical factors. When loads exceed the load-bearing capacity, biological failure and mechanical failure can occur. Mechanical failure may present as a complete fracture through implant fixture or porcelain splinting from the restorative prosthesis.

Treatment needs vary from patient to patient when it comes to replacing a missing tooth. Your dentist can help you decide the best choice for you. In patients with craniomaxillofacial defects, implants can be used to replace ears, noses, eyes, and other maxillofacial defects. Moreover, congenital, traumatic, and developmental oral defects can be treated with implants.

In conclusion, implants have their time and place in the treatment involving the oral cavity and maxillofacial region. Have your dentist walk through with you if implants are more preferred over bridge and denture whenever you’re thinking of replacing your missing tooth.

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