For adults who are missing one or more teeth in a row, patients often assume we’ll recommend replacing teeth with a crown and bridge combination. For some individuals, we may. However, tooth replacement – whether one, several, or an entire ‘arch’ of teeth – can be through additional options, including dental implants.
Although we want our patients to understand all their choices in replacing teeth, we also want them to know the pros and cons. As far as weighing the advantages, our first recommendation is typically to go with a dental implant. Its advantages are many and the disadvantages are, well, almost nil.
While each option for tooth replacement is performed with precision detail and exceptional quality in our Shelby Twp dental office, patients can consider…
• Implants do not require the crowning of adjacent teeth for support. Each implant is positioned in the jaw bone, providing the same, sturdy foundation like that of natural teeth. Relying on neighboring teeth to help support a bridge of replacement teeth is not necessary.
• One implant can often support more than one tooth. In many cases, a bridge of two or three teeth can be dependably attached. Too, a full arch of teeth can often be supported by just 6 or 8 strategically placed implants. Because the fees associated with dental implant treatment are based on the number of implants placed, this helps to minimize overall costs.
• The cost for dental implants is actually very affordable. While the total fees are all ‘up front,’ there is minimal upkeep over time for implants (as long as regular check-ups continue and thorough at-home care is maintained). A dental implant will never get a cavity, need a root canal or have detrimental effects on surrounding teeth.
• Dental implants are the closest thing to the look, feel and function of natural teeth. They restore confidence when speaking, laughing, eating and even sneezing!
• With over 40 different types of dental implants, the one best for your needs can accommodate specific needs and preferences. For example, some implants are designed to support a full arch of teeth while others (such as All-On-4) can be placed in areas where a great deal of bone loss has occurred.
• Dental Implants aid in the prevention of a shrinking jaw bone. By restoring the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone, they help to preserve bone mass. This greatly minimizes the process of “resorption”, which is similar to a ‘melting away’ of bone mass.
• The success rate of implants is excellent – up to 98 percent; higher than any other implant-in-bone success rate.
• The placement process for dental implants is performed while the patient enjoys complete comfort. In our Shelby Township dental office, this oral surgery is done with the relaxation option of “sleep dentistry,” including oral sedation as well as IV sedation (“twilight sleep”).
• In our comfortable Macomb County dental office, we provide all stages of implant treatment in one convenient location. And, we adhere to advanced protective measures for your safety (and ours!) throughout each step – from diagnosis to placement to the placement of your beautiful porcelain restorations (replacement teeth).
• With proper care, dental implants should last your lifetime, making them a wise investment.
The only “con” with dental implants seems to be the perception of being an “expensive” method of replacing teeth. However, we offer several payment plans that allow patients to enjoy the benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile while making affordable, monthly payments that fit into their budget.
When a patient prefers another replacement option for lost teeth, we also offer:
A fixed bridge is held by teeth on both sides of the area where the natural tooth (or teeth) is missing. After adjacent teeth are prepared for crowns, a ‘bridge’ (a replacement tooth or teeth) is affixed to the crowns, restoring appearance and chewing ability.
In some instances, the bordering teeth can serve as anchors for a bridge without crowns. Instead, the replacement tooth or bridge is held by adjacent teeth with the help of metal brackets. With the brackets attached to the back of natural teeth, they are typically not visible.
• With exceptional precision and using one of the nation’s most renowned dental labs, we provide beautiful, custom crowns and bridges that blend naturally with surrounding teeth. This provides patients with a natural look and feel as well as excellent longevity.
• As a trained Neuromuscular Dentist, Dr. Ban Barbat designs each crown and bridge to promote a healthy bite. This provides bite alignment so dental patients avoid future headaches and jaw joint discomfort that can result from improper crown height.
• Crown & Bridge treatments are generally completed in about 2-3 weeks.
• The initial fees for crowns & bridges are lower than dental implants, on average, and dental insurance coverage may be available to help with treatment fees.
The disadvantages can include bone loss from the absence of stimulation in the jaw bone (as dental implants provide). As the bone declines in height, this can become visible when the area of gum tissue beneath the bridge reveals a visible gap between the bridge and gums.
As the bone declines further, the teeth that support a dental bridge are at greater risk for loss. On average, the next teeth to be lost are the teeth adjacent to areas of missing teeth.
Crowns and bridges also need replacing periodically. Bridges can break (often at the worst of times). Bacteria can occasionally work its way from just below the gum line and under the crown of a supporting tooth. This means that the tooth will require repair, and even removal.
Also, crowned teeth sometimes require root canals to treat the nerve inside the remaining natural tooth structure.
A Partial Denture fills spaces of missing teeth to give chewing ability and halt shifting of remaining teeth.
Partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to gum-colored bases, connected by metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments, which are not visible and more esthetic than clasps.
The disadvantages are a more rapid rate of bone loss (due to pressure of the denture on the underlying bone) and the need to replace them more frequently.
A Full Denture is typically removable (unless supported by dental implants) and replaces all teeth as well as gums that have diminished in height.
New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new “teeth” because even the best fitting denture can feel awkward at first. Some have difficulty eating for several days or weeks and may notice a slight change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow, or minor speech difficulty.
As with partial dentures, disadvantages also include a more rapid rate of bone loss (due to the pressure of the denture on the underlying bone). This leads to the need for occasional “relines” to reshape the denture so it conforms to the declining arch.
As the arch shrinks, there is also the potential for slips, which can lead to embarrassment and difficulty eating some foods.
Many people do not like the need to remove their dentures at night to soak them. They also worry about bad breath from bacteria build up in the porous material that makes up the denture’s base.
In our Shelby Twp dental office, we bring the skills and experience needed to provide every option for replacing natural teeth to the highest level of safety and comfort with beautiful results. Your smile will be a flattering asset to confidence and facial appearance. After all, when it comes down to it, smiling more often is always the ultimate benefit!
Our guidance of the tooth replacement best for you is based on a unique understanding of your particular oral anatomy, health history and preferences (both financial and convenience). Here, we take great pride in understanding each patient’s unique makeup.
Too, we proudly utilize some of the most advanced technology in dentistry today, including Cone Beam 3D imaging and laser dentistry.
You may appreciate that our dental patients know us for providing optimal comfort, no matter what procedure you’re having. If dental fear is an issue for you (at any level), we are known for a gentle touch and compassionate, respectful care. If desired, oral or IV sedation (sleep dentistry) is available for almost any dental appointment.
If you’re a new patient (or looking for the very best dentist!), begin with a free consultation appointment. Call 586-739-2155 or tap here to schedule a time so we can meet personally in our private, comfy consultation room.