Having one or more missing teeth is a simple inconvenience to some people, but empty spaces between teeth can do serious damage to oral health if they are left untreated. Meridian Street Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery has many great options to help you get back on track to a healthy and functional smile. However, the first step is to see Dr. Bennett for a consultation. This will allow us to take a look at your problem areas and figure out which tooth replacement options work best for you and your budget.
The next step is to read through this comparison of the three most popular options for tooth replacement: dentures, bridges, and dental implants. The information contained below, including sample patient stories (patient names have been modified to protect patient privacy) will help you decide which replacement option might work for you.
Rick is 62 year-old patient who currently has removable dentures. Rick’s tooth replacement selection consist of a whole arch of replacement teeth anchored in a gum-colored base of moldable plastic. Rick chose dentures because he lost most of his upper teeth in an accident. Conveniently, removable dentures can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth like Rick.
Dentures are a great option that is reasonably priced and relatively easy to get. Most patients can get a custom set made in just a few weeks, which allows for quick restoration of function without surgery or altering surrounding teeth.
Although Rick enjoys the convenience of his smile, he admits that dentures can be uncomfortable at times. They also look less natural than other options. Secondly, dentures do not halt the process of deterioration that can occur in the jawbone when teeth are missing for long periods of time. This can ultimately result in a sunken facial appearance and premature wrinkles around the mouth. Rick also admits that he sometimes has difficulty speaking clearly and enjoying some of his favorite foods (like corn on the cob). Denture replacement is usually necessary every ten years.
Emily is a 37-year-old patient who chose a bridge as her restoration option. She was missing her two front teeth, so the bridge was able to replace them by permanently attaching “a bridge” to her surrounding teeth. Once her procedure was initiated, her adjacent natural teeth were filed down to provide adequate space for the two replacement teeth. Her dentist informed her that her natural teeth must be free of tooth decay and structurally sound to ensure proper stability of the bridge.
Emily did a lot of comparison shopping before she made her tooth replacement selection. She discovered that on average, bridges can be less expensive than options like dental implants, less invasive (no surgery is required), and quicker than other tooth replacement treatments. Bridges also present less risk to patients since parts can be replaced without significant pain or effort.
According to Emily, one of the biggest downsides to her bridge is that it is not reversible. Once her natural teeth were ground down for anchors to the bridge piece, she was told that they would never be normal again. Moreover, her dentist informed her that interfering with the structure of the tooth increases the risk of future decay and root canal treatment. She also discovered that special products and cleaners were needed to clean beneath her bridge and keep the teeth around it free from plaque. Replacement or adjustment is usually necessary every 10 years or so.
Aaron is a 52-year-old patient with two teeth missing after issues with tooth decay. After doing some research, he discovered that dental implants had become the standard of care in tooth replacement for numerous reasons. The option he chose was based upon a foundation of titanium tooth roots that were connected to his jawbone. Once healed, the post pieces fused with his jawbone to make for a strong and permanent anchor for his natural-looking replacement teeth.
Aaron loves his dental implants because they are permanent, they look natural, and they function just like real teeth. Additionally, this wonderful tooth replacement treatment is the only one that can reduce or eliminate jawbone deterioration, so Aaron’s jaw muscles can stay strong, supple, and functional. He also loves that dental implants need no extra care and can also be maintained with daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams.
Although there are few, one of the drawbacks for dental implants is that they are not usually covered by dental insurance. The process can also be long when compared to the ease of other options that are done in just weeks. Dental implants require multiple visits over the course of 3-6 months, and supplementary procedures like bone grafts and tissue augmentation may be required for some patients. However, on the whole, Aaron loves his treatment choice and insists that he only wishes he had gotten dental implants sooner.
Here at Meridian Street Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we love helping all our patients restore their confidence with attractive and functional dental implants. With decades of experience, our staff is ready and proud to serve our Indianapolis, IN community by transforming less-than-perfect grins into healthy smiles. If you would like to know more about what high-quality dental implants can do for your smile or your payment options, please read through the rest of our specially designed website or call us today for more information.
Dr. Michael Bennett
Fishers Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
9126 Technology Lane, Suite #300
Fishers, IN 46038