Replacing Missing Teeth

Replacement Teeth Options in Naperville IL

When Drs. Blecha and Jandali first started to practice dental implants had poor long-term success. Restorative dentists were asked to do heroic measures to try to salvage teeth that had a poor prognosis. Teeth were only removed as a measure of last resort. Often when they were removed terrible bone loss was present about these teeth. Today dental implants are much more reliable than were the heroic measures used to try to save these teeth.

Thus the field of dental care has evolved to where teeth with a poor prognosis are removed hopefully before all of the bone has been lost. Preservation of the bone is just as important as preservation of the tooth. Patients are living longer today, but there dental needs have not changed. Dental decay and teeth breakdown often increases as patients’ age. Preservation of the teeth, bone and ”bite” are thus even more valuable today. Fortunately, dental implants do not get decay. They are also very resistant to periodontal (gum) disease.

Are dental implants always the best solution? The answer is that it depends on the individual case. If Drs. Blecha and Jandali feels that a patient is better off to do a bridge rather than an implant he will advise the patient of this. Your restorative dentist and Drs. Blecha and Jandali will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning your tooth replacement.

Find Out If Dental Implants Are Right For You!

Tooth Replacement Options

There are both temporary and long lasting solutions to missing teeth. Temporary teeth would include a flipper (shown below) or Essix retainer if one or several teeth are missing. The flipper is made of pink acrylic that supports temporary teeth and often has clasps to hold it in place. The Essix retainer is similar to an orthodontic clear retainer that covers all of the teeth but adds tooth colored teeth where teeth are missing. A temporary denture can also be used if one is losing all of the teeth on one jaw.

Longer lasting tooth replacements for patients missing one or several teeth would include a removable partial denture, a fixed bridge, or dental implants. The partial denture is the simplest, quickest easiest solution. It is removable which is good because you can clean your other teeth. However food can get trapped beneath it, which is annoying. The partial also has clasps that tend to torque on the adjacent teeth that may eventually cause these teeth to be lost. The fixed bridge involves removal of tooth structure on the adjacent teeth so that “caps” on the adjacent teeth to be replaced can support the false missing tooth (teeth). The longevity of the bridge is then dependent upon these teeth being strong enough to support the missing teeth and also that these teeth remain free of tooth decay. Typically the dental implant solution does not attach to the adjacent teeth and the implants are the only support for the teeth.

Treatment Options

In the past, patients missing all of their teeth either wore a denture or if they could not tolerate a denture they would wear no teeth at all. Full dentures are a long-term solution for patients missing all of their teeth but they should be remade every 7 years as the bone beneath the dentures steadily shrinks away and thus the denture does not fit well. Dental implants can be used to stabilize a removable denture or they can even be used to support fixed teeth that are only removed by the dentist.

An example of a dental fixed bridge

Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge is a connected set of replacement teeth. For support, it is cemented into position on top of the teeth adjacent to the empty space. The protective outer layer of these teeth is usually removed or ground down prior to attaching the bridge.

An sample of a removable retainer with a plastic tooth known as a flipper

Flipper

A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper”.

A depiction of a sturdy partial denture cast in metal and plastic

Metal Partial

A less fragile option is a removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic. It is held in place by wire clips. A removable partial denture can be removed and reinserted when required by the patient.

A representation of a full denture for the entire lower jaw

Denture

The most common solution, for people missing all teeth in one or both jaws are complete dentures. Some people adapt well to dentures. Others find them uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape.

A visual of a permanent dental implant to replace missing teeth

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution. They form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, implants can last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable, and comfortable for almost any patient.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

There are several reasons to consider implants. If you are missing one or several teeth implants allow you to avoid removal of tooth structure on the adjacent teeth that is needed for a bridge. Teeth that are prepared for a bridge are often more susceptible to get dental decay under the bridge once the bridge is placed. Teeth that support a bridge are subject to much greater bite force with chewing, which could result in these teeth eventually breaking down. However there is still a role today for a dental bridge but it is case specific.

If you are missing all of your teeth dental implants help to preserve the bone in the area of the implants, whereas a denture facilitates continuous slow shrinkage of the bone and can cause loss of facial fullness or form. Dental implants can make a denture much more stable. Dental implants can eliminate the denture entirely with the use of fixed teeth that are only removed by the dentist. A dental implant supported restoration preserves the bone and thus facial fullness or form

Bone loss after tooth extraction

Loss of Facial Structure