Missing teeth can dramatically alter the look of your smile. However, if you have lost one or more teeth, there are treatment options available to restore your mouth. Here are a few types of restorations that may be used:
Dental implants are often used as tooth replacements. An implant, which is actually a rod or screw made of titanium metal, is placed in the jawbone during an outpatient procedure in your dentist's office. Each implant heals in position and stabilizes naturally.
After the implant restoration procedure, the implant goes through a healing process called osseointegration. During this process, which occurs over several months, the bone of the jaw fuses with the implant to form a stabilizing connection. The implant can withstand a large amount of bite pressure without incurring damage just as a natural tooth root can.
After dental implants are installed, the next steps in the restoration process depend on the number of teeth that will need to be replaced. For a single tooth restoration, a connector is added to the implant, and a dental crown is used to cover the connector. When multiple teeth need to be replaced, a dental implant may be used in conjunction with other restorative devices, such as dental bridges and dentures. Implants are used to hold the devices in place. The lack of movement helps make the devices more comfortable.
Some dental implants have modified positions or lengths to accommodate your needs. Since conventional implants are placed in the bone of the jaw, there must be sufficient bone mass available for the placement of the device. However, in some cases bone density may have diminished due to age. The atrophied bone cannot accommodate a standard implant. In such cases, a zygomatic implant or a mini implant may be used.
Zygomatic implants are placed in the bone of the cheek and are usually longer than traditional implants. Mini implants are positioned in the jawbone but require less bone for placement.
Fixed Bridge Restorations
Dental bridges are used to replace one or more teeth. The bridges are fixed in place by bridge crowns that lie on each end of the device. The crowns are bonded to natural teeth or dental implants. The false tooth or teeth in the center of the bridge replace the missing tooth or teeth to restore the look and functionality of your mouth.
To learn more about tooth-replacement options that may work for you, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your area, such as Bruce Mathes DDS.