Treatment Alternatives For Missing Teeth
Anytime a tooth is lost you as the patient have four options to consider in the site or gap.
Option 1: Do Nothing
This implies leaving the space without treatment while understanding the implications this may have. First and above all BONE WILL be lost. It will resorb or shrink due to the lack of function and absence of teeth. In addition, teeth are likely to shift and move in unpredictable directions. This will lead to crowding as well as potential bite problems reason for which doing nothing is not recommended.
Option 2: Fixed Bridge
This was the only available fixed alternative to patients prior to implants. It involves using the teeth adjacent to the space as pillars to support the missing teeth. The result is fixed stable teeth. The main disadvantage lies in the fact that the dentist must grind down sometimes healthy teeth to support the bridge. This fixed prosthesis is difficult to clean as you cannot floss in between the now attached teeth.
Option 3: Removable Partial Bridge or Denture
This is a fairly fast and cheap way to solve the problem, however, the main drawback is that the teeth are REMOVABLE. This means you take them in and out specially at night. Partials are bulky, uncomfortable, and get loose over time. The other major draw back from removable appliances is that they rest ON TOP of the gums and therefore speed up the resorption and deterioration of the remaining bone. They are the exact opposite of implants.
Option 4: Dental Implants
Why Dental Implants?
Dental Implants have become the standard of care for tooth replacement because they are the closest thing we can provide patients to natural teeth. Dental Implants help preserve facial structures and prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are lost. Implants are placed inside the bone therefore preserving the integrity and contour of the jaws and preventing bone resorption. This also preserves the health of the adjacent teeth and gum tissues allowing the patient to feel and most of all look more natural.
Are You A Candidate For Implants?
The answer is YES. If you have at least one missing tooth, then YOU ARE a candidate for dental implants!
Implants require only two things; Good quantity of bone at the time of placement and compliance by patients with instructions & proper follow up care.
Most patients then are candidates for implants. Only very few medical and dental conditions would make a person not suitable for implant surgery. If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, Dr. Moya and Dr. Maida offer several treatment alternatives for optimization which improve the outcome and your final result. (see Bone Grafting).