When one or more teeth are missing, the gums are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease and other dental issues. Replacing the missing space with dental implants helps restore the smile and protect gums and other teeth. There are four primary types of implant procedures that are commonly used to replace missing teeth.
1. Replacing One Missing Tooth
When one tooth is missing, dentists may recommend the use of an implant-supported crown. With this option, an implant is placed in the jawbone and a crown is created to provide the look and feel of a natural tooth.
The other option for replacing a single tooth is to use a dental bridge. The drawback to this option is that the adjacent teeth need to be filed to support the attachment. This increases the risk of tooth decay in the adjacent teeth.
With a crown added to a dental implant, the adjacent teeth remain untouched. In fact, replacing the missing gap with an implant reduces the risk of plaque buildup near the adjacent teeth.
2. Implants for Multiple Missing Teeth
As with replacing a single tooth, using an implant to replace multiple missing teeth is preferable to using a fixed bridge. Again, you do not need to damage adjacent teeth to support the bridge. The implant is added to the jawbone and the crowns are connected to the implant.
When several teeth in a row are missing, some patients choose to use a removable partial denture. While this may cost less than an implant for multiple missing teeth, the partial denture does not protect the jawbone from additional deterioration by providing stimulation. Visit Prosthodontic Associates and learn more from their library of resources.
3. Replacing All Missing Teeth
If all teeth are missing, implants are available as an alternative to full dentures. However, the condition of the jawbone can impact the type of implant that is used. This also applies to the previous procedures.
The two primary types of implants are endosteal and subperiosteal implants. With endosteal implants, the implant is placed directly in the jawbone and is the most common type of implant. With subperiosteal implants, the implant is added under the gum line and is often used for patients who lack jawbone to support the implant.
The process of replacing all missing teeth with implants may require more visits than implants for a single missing tooth. Multiple implants are needed to attach the dental crowns or fixed bridge. Depending on the condition of the jawbone, implants may be added during individual visits.
4. Replacing Dentures with Implants
People who already have dentures may benefit from replacing the dentures with implants. As mentioned, dentures do not protect the jawbone. They are also sometimes uncomfortable and increase the risk of bad breath.
As the jawbone deteriorates, the dentures may not fit properly, resulting in additional discomfort. Replacing dentures with implants helps eliminate the discomfort and protects your jaw and gums.
Individuals that have one or more missing teeth should consult with a dental professional to discuss treatment options. In most situations, implants are preferred over bridges and dentures as they allow patients to retain the same chewing and speaking ability.