Missing Teeth

“If a lost tooth isn’t noticeable or doesn’t cause me problems, should I just let it go?”

“I fell off my bike and knocked out two upper teeth on the right side.  What’s the best fix?”

“My dentures don’t fit like they used to; they move around a lot.  Should I replace them?”

Losing a tooth or several teeth can impact your life in any number of ways.   Feeling self-conscious about your appearance is obviously one of them, but you may also confront health and quality of life issues – missing teeth raise the possibility of gum disease or other oral problems and can also limit your nutritional choices.  Tooth loss can happen in many different ways, but the most common natural cause is periodontal disease. As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds your teeth in place deteriorate, leading to tooth loss.

Solution

We’ve come a long way since George Washington wore dentures, which by the way, were not made of wood as legend has it.  They were in fact carved from ivory and gold.  Today, there are many state of the art restorative options for replacing missing teeth, including dental bridges, dentures, and one of the biggest innovations and advances in dentistry in the past 40 years — dental implants.

Implants

Implants are by far the most functionally effective and durable, offering a permanent solution to tooth loss. Moreover, they provide a cavity-resistant and stable foundation to support a dental bridge or dental crown if multiple teeth are missing.  Made of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body, implants are posts that are placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth, custom-designed to match your natural teeth.

If you are interested in dental implants, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cordini to discuss the process in detail. If you are in good general health this treatment may be an option for you. You may be medically evaluated by a physician before any implant surgery is scheduled.

Dentures

If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay or injury, dentures are removable appliances that can replace missing teeth and benefit your appearance and your health.  When you lose all of your teeth, facial muscles can sag, making you look older. Dentures can help restore the younger appearance of your face and profile, and make it easier to eat healthy and speak more clearly than you could without teeth—things that people with teeth just take for granted.  They can be made to resemble your natural teeth closely so that your appearance does not change much, other than your smile might be a little brighter and more confident.  There are basically three types of dentures:

  • Conventional: This full removable denture is made and placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed, which may take several months.
  • Immediate: This removable denture is inserted on the same day that the remaining teeth are removed. That way you don’t have to be without teeth during the healing period, but you may need to have the denture relined or remade subsequently after your jaw has healed (and any swelling is gone).
  • Overdenture: If some of your natural teeth can be saved, this appliance can fit over a small number of remaining teeth.  They help to preserve your jawbone and provide stability and support for the denture. An overdenture can also fit over implants.

Whichever dentures are right for you, you’ll need to schedule follow-up appointments with Dr. Cordini so the fit can be checked and adjusted if needed. If you have any questions about your dentures, or if they stop fitting well or become damaged, or if a problem like irritation or soreness persists, contact us so we can help resolve the problem.  Denture wearers should still schedule regular dental checkups, so we can examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly.
Bridges

Sometimes a bridge is the solution if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bridges span the space where teeth are missing, and are cemented to the natural teeth or to implants surrounding the empty space to serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth is attached to the crowns that cover adjacent teeth or implants. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges… usually porcelain or ceramic…which can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. The choice may also depend on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost.

 

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