I’m Missing All My Teeth, What Are My Options?
Losing just one tooth can cause someone to be self-conscious and cause other problems like chewing and enjoying favorite foods. Losing all of your teeth, whether to damage, disease, or other causes, can result in serious damage to mental and physical health. When laughing, eating and smiling become uncomfortable or impossible, physical health – and mental health – suffers. The good news is that, with today’s advanced dental technology, there are multiple options for edentulous patients.
Speaking with your dentist about your teeth replacement options is the best place to start on your journey to regaining your smile. Dental professionals are trained to work with patients to discuss and recommend the best option for each individual case, which might include permanent dental implants a fixed bridge, or removable dentures.
Permanent dental implants
Permanent dental implants consist of a small post, usually made of titanium, and similar in shape to screws. Under local anesthetic, they are surgically inserted into the jawbone, and serve as the first step in the process to replace missing teeth. Once inserted, the dental implant bonds with the natural bone, acts as a substitute for the root of the tooth, and provides the base of support for the one or more replacement teeth, also known as the crowns.
One of the most effective options to restore full sets of teeth is a full-arch restoration procedure. Full-arches are a form of teeth replacement - ideal for patients that have suffered from severe tooth loss over the course of their lives - that use dental implants to recreate the functionality and appearance of a full mouth of teeth. Products like Straumann®’s Pro Arch and teethtoday® enable personalised treatment options for permanent full-arch restorations, and are able solve different clinical situations with predictable and successful outcomes. Most patients report that not only do they find full arch replacements to be secure, they provide the function and look of natural teeth that they were expecting.
- No slipping or clicking
- Most similar to natural teeth
- Help prevent bone loss and potential change of facial structure
- Require surgery
- Procedure may take longer than other options
- May be less cost-effective than other options
A hybrid solution between a permanent arch replacement and a removable denture, a fixed bridge may be the right solution for some patients. With a product such as Straumann®’s BLT dental implant, it’s possible to restore a full arch of teeth with as little as four dental implants fitted with a custom bar or splint.
This combination of components allows for proper distribution of forces of bite to strengthen and protect the permanent dental implants, while still allowing the bridge to be professionally removed and cleaned. Because of the distribution of support, a full arch can be restored with a one-piece bridge that looks great and functions properly.
- No slipping or clicking
- Look, feel and function like natural teeth
- No need for removal for cleaning
- Cost less than full permanent arch replacement
- Require surgery
- May require additional cleaning technique to clean underneath
- May be less cost-effective than fully removable options
While permanent solutions to replace teeth are a very popular and effective means of treatment, they may not be the best solution for some patients. Certain chronic illnesses, and patients lacking the necessary bone health to support dental implants may not be good candidates for dental implant surgery. The good news is that the days of conventional dentures that might slip or click are long gone.
When treating edentulous cases, removable options represent a more straightforward approach, and do not require surgery or the additional healing time that dental implant surgery requires. As the name suggests, removable dentures can not only replace a full arch, they are easily removed for cleaning, as they are not meant to be worn 24 hours a day.
- Don’t require surgery
- Less extensive than dental implants
- Faster to complete the process
- Can be less stable than permanent dental implants
- Takes time to get used to inserting and removing
- Can break or be lost
- Need to be taken out at night to clean
The options for edentulous patients are always changing and improving. In today’s works of fast-moving innovation, dental professionals are being challenged with new informed patient behavior, scientific findings, and evolving products and technologies, to find better and faster ways to help patients regain their smiles.