Tooth loss is a major dental problem, and suffering from it normally leaves you with only two options: replace the missing tooth or don’t. The answer should be clear, because choosing the latter can lead to further complications in terms of diet and appearance, as well as the higher risk of losing more teeth. Though there are different choices available, research shows these are the most ideal and effective way to address and prevent further jawbone corrosion and tooth loss. At our practice in Marietta near Atlanta, dental implants are the solution we recommend.
Why replace missing teeth?
Every tooth has two parts: the crown and the root. When a tooth falls out, the part of the jaw that once supported it loses its purpose. It then withers and atrophies; leaving a weakened jaw to support remaining structures. Missing teeth add to the workload of those that remain, creating a problematic oral situation. To balance the load, some teeth shift and cause improper spacing, food impacting, and tooth decay. In four to eight years, remaining teeth can begin falling out as a result of these problems. You can lose up to 19% of adjacent teeth as a result of just one lost tooth, resulting in a total loss of five teeth!
What options do I have for replacement?
The most popular options remain to be partials, bridges, and implants. The following is a quick review of the three.
Removable partial dentures carry the weight of replacement structures using clasps that attach to surrounding “abutment” teeth. Despite being an option that’s been around for a long time, some people using this dental appliance report increased tooth sensitivity, discomfort, and other pains. Despite studies from the American Dental Association showing these appliances cause the loss of almost 30% more teeth in most patients, it remains a popular choice because of its affordability. In the long run, however, patients may end up spending more time and money for maintenance and to replace additional teeth.
Fixed bridges are a solution that requires the reduction of abutment teeth for proper cap fitting. Replacement teeth secured to the caps bridge the gap between abutment teeth. Just like removable partials, the jawbone may begin to atrophy because there is no actual replacement for the missing tooth. Bridges normally last for ten years; after such time, surrounding teeth begin decaying and may require root canal therapy. According to studies by the ADA, patients using such appliances may lose up to 10% of remaining teeth.
Of the three, a dental implant is the ideal option because it replaces both the root and crown. These do not rely on adjacent structures, because the purpose is to create an artificial tooth root. With it, there is a significantly reduced chance of experiencing tooth decay or sensitivity compared to the other solutions. This procedure has an excellent success rate of 95-98% and can also secure dentures, partials, and bridgework. Coupled with proper oral maintenance, it can and will last a lifetime.
At Reilly Dental, near Atlanta, dental implants are among our specialties. To qualify for treatment, it is important you be in good health and have adequate jawbone structure. There are cases where minor pre-operatory procedures like sinus and bone grafts are necessary to prepare your mouth for surgery. In case you do not have sufficient bone structure to support the procedure, you can ask about mini implants as an alternative. We will evaluate your specific case to figure out which replacement is right for you.