When a tooth is lost it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. This is not only for the cosmetic benefit of filling the gap, but also for your dental health. Many people have had a bridge done or dentures made, which are excellent as far as they go.
Dentures may fit well for a while but then need modifying or replacing as the mouth changes with aging:
- They may be too loose and move when you want them to be stable
- They must be removed and cleaned every night
In our experience, about 10 percent of people with dentures really function fine with them. The other 90 percent never really get comfortable with how they look, with the 75 percent reduction of natural chewing force, or with the slipping that ANY denture has. While some dentures fit fine at the start, over time the jaws shrink and get thinner and shorter, making it harder to wear them as the years go by.
Bridges can be secure and comfortable, but require trimming of the neighboring teeth to properly secure them. These teeth may have little or no dental work, but for the bridge they must be substantially modified.
- Over time whatever happens to one of these anchor teeth affects ALL of the bridge
- If you get a cavity on one tooth, the whole bridge of multiple teeth needs to be replaced
- For optimal longevity, these bridges need good regular cleaning. But that can be laborious, taking extra time and requiring special brushes to go under the fake tooth
Also called partial dentures, these are the most common image people see when someone says "bridge". Many picture an uncle who had a lot of chrome or silver hooks showing when he smiled. If you have a partial denture:
- It can frequently become uncomfortable because it moves with chewing
- The pressure can cut the gums
- It can make it easier to get cavities on the teeth that support it.
- If it is not immaculately cared for, more cavities and the spiral of more teeth loss occurs.
- Finally you are faced with the need to have ALL of the remaining teeth removed and a full denture made.
We have had MANY people tell us: "If I knew a denture was like this I would have worked harder to save my teeth!"
The Advantage of Dental Implants
A missing tooth leaves not only the tooth gap, but also a root gap in the jawbone. Being invisible, it may not seem so important, but that is a fallacy. When that vacant space is left too long in the bone, the bone tissue resorbs (shrinks) to fill it up. That will change your jawline and facial shape, giving you an older and less healthy look. Dental implants replace the tooth root.
By replacing the tooth root, an implant takes any overload of forces away from the neighboring teeth and spreads it around evenly. Your teeth will feel and function better, as will your jaw joints.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have been used for over 50 years, with a success rate of 95-98 percent in most situations. They deliver proven and predictable results and have the potential to be a truly cost-effective, lifelong replacement compared to bridges, dentures or partials.
You can learn more about dental implants from Dr. Greenhalgh and discuss them as a possible procedure for you. Please call 303-988-9060 or email our cosmetic dentistry office, and we will be happy to schedule a consultation. We serve the Denver and Lakewood, Colorado areas.
How Do I Choose Between Dentures & Bridges or Implants?
Every patient has different circumstances and oral health concerns that will impact which artificial tooth option is the best fit for them. Factors that can influence this include aesthetics, cost, dental health, and more. For example, dental implants often look more natural than dentures or bridges, so patients concerned with aesthetics may be more inclined to choose implants. Dentures and bridges tend to be more cost-effective than implants, so patients with a tight budget may choose one of these options instead.
The health and stability of your existing teeth will also influence which option is best for you. Dental bridges or partial dentures cannot be placed if there are not strong, healthy surrounding teeth to provide stability. For patients with a large number of missing teeth, complete dentures or implants are better options. Your dental provider will work with you to determine whether dentures, bridges, or implants are the best option to meet your needs.
How Long Will My Implants or Dentures & Bridges Last?
Your dental implants, bridges, or dentures should last several years if they are well maintained. To make sure that your dental implants, bridges, or dentures last as long as possible, practicing proper oral hygiene is critical. You must brush your teeth and floss at least twice daily. Using an appropriate mouthwash will also help maintain your implants, bridges, or dentures.
Having regular check-ups with your dentist is also important for preserving the strength, stability, and appearance of your artificial teeth. Your dentist can perform a thorough cleaning and check your dental hardware for any concerns or issues.
Will Dentures or Implants Ruin My Teeth?
Partial dentures and dental bridges can do damage to the surrounding teeth. This is because surrounding teeth are used to provide stability for the bridge or partial denture. Oftentimes, a portion of the healthy support tooth will need to be removed or shaven down in order to do this. Dental implants are the only option that does not do any damage to your existing, healthy teeth. When a dental implant is placed, the surrounding teeth do not need to be altered at all.
Which Looks More Natural: Dentures, Bridges, or Implants?
Your dental hardware will be custom-made to match the shade, size, and shape of your existing teeth. This is to ensure that your artificial teeth appear as natural as possible. With that being said, dental implants tend to look the most natural, as the materials they are composed of closely resemble real tooth enamel.
Which Lasts Longer: Dental Implants or Bridges?
Dental implants are the longest-lasting of all of the artificial tooth options. Dental implants can last up to 25 years, while dental bridges usually last around 5 to 15 years. Dentures have the shortest lifespan, lasting about 5 to 10 years. Whichever dental hardware you receive, maintaining appropriate oral hygiene and having regular visits with your dentist will help preserve them as long as possible.
What Are Implant-Supported Dentures?
Dr. Greenhalgh will go over your options if you are missing teeth and will help you to decide which would work better for you: an implant-supported denture or an implant-supported bridge.
Whichever one you choose, however, will involve the principles behind dental implants. A dental implant is made up of a titanium post, which is inserted into the jawbone and acts as the new tooth’s “roots.” The jawbone and the post fuse together within a few months, and then an abutment is placed on top of the post. Then, a crown (an artificial tooth) is attached to the abutment.
An implant-supported denture is a combination of dentures and dental implants. The titanium posts are inserted into the jawbone, just like dental implants. Once the bone and the posts are fused together, dentures are attached to them. These dentures look and feel like natural teeth, and the use of the implants can help to prevent loss of the jawbone, which can be a side effect of missing teeth.
What Are Implant-Supported Bridges?
In a traditional dental bridge, a missing tooth is replaced with an artificial tooth, which is held in place by crowns that fit on the teeth on either side. In an implant-supported bridge, implants are placed for two missing teeth, and the bridge is placed in between these implants, which help to support the bridge. This is a good option for a patient who is missing many teeth. They also look and function like natural teeth and help to preserve the jawbone.
Can I Finance My Dentures, Bridges, or Implants?
Yes! Dr. Greenhalgh offers different financing options for your dental work. In addition to financing, he also offers senior discounts and discounts for paying in cash.
Why Do I Need to Replace Missing Teeth?
If you’ve functioned for a while with missing teeth, you may wonder why you should bother doing anything about them now. However, missing a tooth can affect you in many ways. It can affect:
- Your oral health. Having a missing tooth allows your other teeth to move out of place. If your other teeth move and get too close together, it can make it difficult to get those teeth clean enough, which may lead to tooth decay and gum disease. It can also change the way the muscles in your face and jaw work, which can lead to jaw problems and pain.
- Your overall health. Did you know that having all of your teeth contributes to the health of your jaw? Your jawbone needs the stimulation it gets from the action of your teeth biting and chewing; this stimulation encourages new bone mass to be created. Without this, your jawbone can start to break down, which can mean more lost teeth.
- Your self-esteem. Missing a tooth may make you self-conscious when eating, talking, or laughing. Over time, having a missing tooth can even make your face start to look saggy, which can also make you feel self-conscious.
- Your quality of life. When you are missing a tooth, you might find it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods because you simply can’t bite and chew properly.
Contact Our Lakewood Dentist Please contact Dr. Scott Greenhalgh using the form on this page or call 303.988.9060 today to schedule a consultation. We serve patients in Lakewood, Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.