There are three options for restoring missing teeth that patients of Laurel Dental Associates can consider: dental implants, dental bridges, and partial dentures. Each comes with its pros and cons, as explained below.
Partial dentures are composed of a row of replacement teeth with a pink base to cover the gums. A sturdy acrylic resin is used for false teeth, and plastic is used for the base. A metal framework and clasps connect the dentures to the adjacent teeth.
Partial dentures are removable, which means that they need to be cared for on a daily basis. In particular, you would have to rinse the dentures under warm water after every meal and brush them with a soft denture brush.
Dental bridges are also known as fixed partial dentures and are composed of the same elements, excepting the metal framework and clasps. Instead, they are flanked on both sides with a dental crown: a cover that goes over the adjacent teeth. To fit your natural teeth with the crowns, our dentist would have to grind down their enamel. However, we would take X-rays beforehand to ensure that the enamel is thick enough to protect the pulp.
Because they are permanent, bridges do not require the sort of maintenance outlined above. You would brush your teeth like normal and visit our office for occasional checkups. It’s best to avoid hard foods with dental bridges, though.
The Downside of Dentures and Bridges
There is one downside shared by dentures and bridges. Wherever your teeth are missing, the area of the jawbone underneath it will begin to suffer resorption. What this means is that the jawbone is no longer stimulated by the activities of biting and chewing, starts to be reabsorbed into the body. The jawbone may become so weak as to necessitate a bone graft.
Dentures and bridges, though they will preserve one’s bite and the position of one’s teeth, can do nothing to stop resorption. Those who choose dentures will need regular refitting over the years, and those with bridges will need replacing; otherwise, the prosthetic will become loose and they will experience trouble eating and speaking.
The only way to prevent jawbone resorption is to have dental implants. Implants refer to the roots, made from titanium or a titanium alloy, that are surgically placed in the jawbone. The jawbone then fuses to these roots, while an abutment is placed over them to make way for the replacement teeth. Patients will thus have no worries: they can stimulate and preserve their jawbone through normal biting and chewing.
Getting dental implants is not as cost-effective as getting bridges or dentures. We may also find that your insurance will not cover them. However, implants:
- Last well over a decade, longer than other prosthetics
- Are more durable (no worries about eating hard foods)
- Have the most natural look (no metal clasps, for example)
We invite you to choose Laurel Dental Associates for dental prosthetics. We boast state-of-the-art technology, including lasers that will make implant surgery a cinch. Call us today for a consultation.