It’s hard to overstate the importance of a great smile. When a person feels more confident in social and work situations, it can translate into better friendships and more success. Smiles can be contagious and can lift other people’s spirits. When you’re missing teeth, though, a great smile is a little tougher to have. In fact, someone might be so self-conscious about their tooth situation, they may not want to smile at all.There are other considerations as well. Missing teeth may not always affect appearance based on the location, but they can affect speech. Moreover, they can make chewing painful or more difficult. Plus, other teeth compensating for those missing teeth may change their shape and location. Resulting muscle changes can even change the appearance of someone’s face! You may need to consider a fixed dental bridge, removable dentures or dental implants as your long-term solution.
Fixed Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are prosthetics attached to adjacent teeth. They can be effective for replacing a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth in the same area. However, they’re almost as expensive as dental implants, which are a better long-term solution. It can also be more difficult to clean around them, increasing the risk of tooth decay and infections. Bridges also require alterations to existing teeth.
Removable Partial Dentures
This is the least expensive of the three. People often think of dentures as replacing a complete set of teeth, but removable partial dentures are available, too. Dentures are replacement teeth attached to a base that looks natural. They look good, they’re comparatively inexpensive, and they’re easier to replace and repair. The downside is that they require removal and cleaning once a day, plus removal before going to bed. All the maintenance can be a real hassle, and the regular removal makes them more vulnerable to damage. They can also be uncomfortable until the wearer gets used to them.
Although implants cost more than the other two, they’re really the best long-term solution for missing teeth. The rest of this post will delve into what implants are and what their benefits are.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants involve a surgical procedure (Yes, we said the S-word, but it really isn’t that bad!) that attaches a titanium post to the jaw, and then the doctor attaches a natural-looking replacement tooth to it. They have several advantages:
Dental Implants Look Great
The materials with which the implant crowns are made reflect light the way tooth enamel does. This results in a beautiful, natural look.
Stable and Permanent
Because the implants are fixed to solid bone, they aren’t going anywhere. There’s never any need to take them out. If you care for them properly, they should last for decades. In many cases, that means they will last the remainder of a person’s lifetime. Implants also do not affect adjacent teeth in any way.
Care for implants is basically the same as it is for natural teeth: brush twice a day, floss once daily, and schedule two, yearly visits to a dentist for cleaning and checkup. You don’t have to learn anything new or buy any dental tools that you don’t already have. Good maintenance is important. If you don’t observe it, there is more risk for gum disease, which can weaken the bone holding the implants and can damage other teeth as well.
Since an implant has a single base, you can use them to replace just one tooth, several in the same area, or multiple teeth missing from different spots in the mouth.
Dental implants are not the fabled Fountain of Youth, but they CAN make you look younger. To better fuse to the implants, the body builds more bone around them. As a result, you can experience a firmer jawline, younger-looking facial contours, and reduced facial sagging.
Could your smile use some help? Do you want your teeth looking healthier and better? If you think dental implants might be the right long-term solution, we’re ready to help here at Poling Family Dental Care. We help the good people of Pittsburgh’s South Hills area look and feel great with their smiles, daily!