Replacement Options for Missing Teeth

Replacement Options for Missing Teeth

Missing one or more teeth in your mouth can do more than impact your smile and confidence — it can dramatically impact your oral health. A single missing tooth can shift your surrounding healthy teeth out of alignment. As a result, patients with missing teeth often suffer from severe bite problems. Missing teeth also speed up the natural decline of the remaining healthy teeth as they are forced to bear the burden of additional chewing forces once accomplished by the missing tooth or teeth.

Luckily, there are many restorative options for missing teeth which can help you regain your oral function and smile. Because everyone’s mouth is different, some tooth restoration treatment options may not be the best option for you. Please review the information provided on this page to learn more about each restoration option and allow us to assist you in selecting the best treatment to replace your missing tooth or teeth. Many of these options are offered at our practice in Kennewick, WA, and we look forward to speaking with you to discuss the best restorative solution for your smile.

Dental Implants

Quick Facts:
  • Provide a permanent replacement option for one or more missing teeth
  • Can last a lifetime if properly cared for
  • Allow you to regain the natural function of your mouth
  • Are permanently anchored into your mouth so you can avoid the discomfort caused by removable prostheses
  • Stimulate your jaw and prevent bone loss

Dental implants are made up of three parts: the screw, the abutment, and the custom-made crown. These three components work together to provide you with a sturdy tooth restoration. The base of the implant is the screw, which is seated within the jaw and acts as a replacement for the missing tooth root. Through a process called osseointegration, the screw gradually fuses with the jaw as it heals, forming a sturdy base which stimulates the jaw bone. The custom-made crown is fabricated to look just like the natural missing tooth and blend seamlessly with the rest of the healthy teeth in the mouth. These two components are held together firmly by the connecting abutment to complete the full restoration.

Can I receive dental implants?

If you are healthy enough to undergo a minor dental surgery, such as the removal of a tooth, you are likely healthy enough to undergo the placement of dental implants. As with any surgical procedure, other factors, such as your medical history, should be considered before undergoing treatment. The density, height, and width of the jaw bone and sinus, as well as the location of the nerve in the jaw, should also be taken into consideration when developing the treatment plan to ensure long-term results.

Dental implants are a fantastic restorative solution for patients who are missing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or even a full arch of teeth. Their versatile design allows oral surgeons to utilize them as individual restorations, as a part of an implant-supported bridge, or even to support a full denture. Most dental professionals consider dental implants to be the most reliable, aesthetically pleasing, and long-lasting restoration option available.

Full-Arch Restoration Using Dental Implants

Quick Facts:
  • Can secure a full upper or lower denture using four or more dental implants
  • Prevents the bone loss and discomfort resulting from other removable treatment options
  • Is a permanent restorative solution
  • Allows patients to receive new teeth in the same surgery the implants are placed

Full-arch restoration is a unique alternative to removable dentures because the replacement teeth are permanently fixed inside the mouth via a secure base of four or more dental implants. Full-arch restoration can be used to restore an entire arch of teeth and is widely seen as one of the best full-arch replacement solutions available.

Am I a candidate for full-arch restoration?

To undergo full-arch restoration, patients must be healthy enough to receive outpatient anesthesia. As with any dental implant procedure, the health of the jaw and the sinuses should be taken into consideration before placement, and the nerve in the jaw should be evaluated. Patients who are interested in an alternative to a removable denture but don’t wish to pay for the extensive treatment and healing time needed to replace teeth with individual implants should consider this procedure.

Tooth-Supported Bridges

Quick Facts:
  • Restore a gap created by multiple missing teeth in a row
  • Can be removable or fixed
  • Restore the aesthetics of the smile and function of the mouth
  • Require support from adjacent healthy teeth

A bridge is a restorative option commonly used to replace multiple missing teeth in a row. When multiple teeth are missing in a row, a bridge can span the gap and provide a natural-looking tooth replacement. A bridge relies on the support of the neighboring healthy teeth to be securely fixed inside the mouth. Traditionally, a tooth-supported bridge requires that the adjacent healthy teeth be ground down before the bridge can be placed on top. Bridges are versatile restorations as they can be removable or permanently fixed inside the mouth.

Am I a candidate for bridge placement?

A tooth-supported bridge is an appealing option for patients who, for one reason or another, cannot undergo extensive medical treatment or surgery. The appointment to place a bridge is not surgical; however, a local anesthetic may be used to numb the area.

Traditional Dentures (Full or Partial)

Quick Facts:
  • Are flexible and can be removed from the mouth
  • Can be used to restore a full arch of teeth or provide a partial replacement for multiple missing teeth
  • Quickly restore one’s smile and oral function
  • Do not stimulate the jaw, which may result in bone loss

Traditional removable dentures have been used by patients worldwide to restore multiple missing teeth. This flexible option is convenient in that no surgery is required, and the dentures can be removed from the mouth when preferred.

Should I consider dentures?

Removable dentures are an appealing option for patients interested in a removable prosthesis, patients who cannot undergo an extensive surgical procedure, or those who do not have enough bone density for dental implant placement. It is important to consider that traditional dentures often require additional expenses over the years for refitting. Because removable dentures don’t stimulate the jaw bone, its shape tends to change over time as the bone begins to decrease in height and width.