Do you have all of your teeth? If not, this may be some interesting information. According to the American College of Prosthodontists more than thirty five million Americans have no teeth and over 175 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. These statistics are staggering. Are you in this position and if so is it inhibiting your quality of life? At Matthew Nawrocki DMD, MS, we are committed to educating the public about the details of oral health and dentistry. Today we would like to discuss the implications of missing teeth and what the possibilities are to correct this problem.
What Causes Teeth to be Missing?
There are many reasons for teeth to be missing. Decay, gum disease, and trauma are common reasons for patients to lose teeth. If you are missing teeth, it is important to note that you are not alone and not without options.
What Problems Arise from Missing Teeth?
Missing teeth can create functional, esthetic, and health problems. People who are missing teeth in a visible area often find themselves hiding their smile when they speak, laugh, or when photographed. In addition, missing teeth can be problematic during function. Chewing can be difficult when teeth are lost. Speech can also be challenging when certain teeth have been lost. Finally, teeth next to empty spaces can drift into the space. In addition to the esthetic complications this causes, long term problems can arise from inadequate space to add teeth.
What are the Options for Teeth Replacement?
If you are missing teeth, there are generally several options for replacement. One hundred years ago, nearly half of Americans had no teeth at all. These numbers have improved in recent years but the fact remains that in many situations all of the teeth in the lower and/or upper arch need to be replaced. This lead to dentures being the standard of care. A traditional complete denture is made of a gum colored acrylic material holding either acrylic or porcelain teeth. It is held in the mouth largely by the anatomical variations of the gums and the supporting bone. Aside from dentures, we felt it necessary to discuss a few other treatments for tooth replacement.
Removable Partial Dentures – A removable partial denture in contrast to the complete denture is created to replace one or more teeth in an arch but not all. These types of dentures typically require a few existing healthy teeth to retain the prosthesis in the mouth. They are generally made of a metal framework covered with acrylic material that hold replacement teeth. These dentures are worn during waking hours and removed during sleep. Feel free to click here to learn more about removable partial dentures and complete dentures.
Dental Implants – Dental implants have revolutionized the dental industry. Every form of tooth replacement has it’s drawbacks. With complete dentures and removable partial dentures, the largest drawbacks have been that the dentures can slip, rock, move, and probably most importantly do not feel like regular teeth. These dentures are generally supported by the soft tissues in the mouth so as a result can not handle anywhere near the chewing power that normal teeth can handle. By contrast, implants are titanium root replacement screws that are anchored into the bone. Connected to the implant is an abutment and a crown. The crown is the visible and functional part of the implant system. Due to this strong anchorage, implants feel and function much more like a natural tooth. Implants are extremely predictable and successful. If you would like to read more about implants feel free to visit our services section on implants.
Implant Supported Overdentures – Implant supported overdentures are essentially a complete denture utilized to replace all of the teeth in the upper and/or lower arch. These differ from complete traditional dentures in that they snap into implants that are anchored in the bone similar to the function of a snap shirt. An implant supported overdenture solves a few problems that traditional complete dentures create. First, like discussed above with implants, the overdenture utilizes the stability created by the implants. This allows for more biting force. In addition, the chance of the dentures rocking, moving, or slipping in the mouth is significantly reduced because the denture is retained in the mouth in part by the implants.
Hybrid Dentures – Our final tooth replacement method to discuss is the hybrid denture. The hybrid denture utilizes similar goals as the overdenture but takes it a step further. The hybrid denture generally uses a few more implants for support and the denture actually is fixed into the implants themselves. The denture is not removed nightly during sleep. Hybrids are predictable, successful, and can be one of the best ways to replace missing teeth. At Matthew Nawrocki DMD, MS, we use Hybridge technology. Feel free to click here for more information.
The methods discussed above are only some of the ways to replace teeth. If you would like to have a personal consultation regarding missing teeth, we are happy to help. Simply contact us electronically at any time or call us at (904)602-8396.