Replacing even a single tooth that’s been lost or pulled due to damage, decay, or disease is not an overnight process. When a tooth is removed, the gums and underlying bone usually need anywhere from six weeks to six months to heal before you can get a long-term fix, depending on the replacement method you choose [source: Mayo Clinic]. This is because tooth loss naturally causes a change in the shape of the gums and bone support structure in the jaw, which affects the fitting of permanent dentures and dental implants. Because of this, the advertising you see which tells you that you can “replace teeth in a day” can be extremely misleading.

Tooth replacement therapy requires more than a few hours to complete.

However, for a quick fix, something called “flipper teeth” can be used as a temporary fix for a lost tooth. Often referred to simply as “flippers,” flipper teeth are lightweight, removable dentures that usually serve as a temporary tooth replacement option. Basically, they keep you from having to walk around with a visible gap between your teeth for several weeks. They also give you an improved ability to bite and chew food while you’re waiting to get dentures or implants.

Of course, there are the usual alternatives when you need to have a tooth, or many teeth, replaced. Below is a chart which outlines what you can expect from each of the traditional tooth replacement therapies, relative to what you can expect from dental implants.

 

Tooth replacement technologies Flipper Dentures  (partial or full) Bridge Implants
Longevity1-3 years5-7 years7-10 yearsLifetime
Preservation of healthy adjacent teethYesYesNoYes
Transmission of force to:adjacent teethadjacent teeth/gumsadjacent teethbone
Prevent bone loss & preserve facial appearanceNoNoNoYes
Requirement for periodic adjustmentsYesYesYesNo
Accelerated loss of adjacent teethYesYesYesNo

 
Source: Premium Tooth Replacement, Deutsche Bank, January 26, 2006

 
Clearly, dental Implants are a definitive tooth replacement therapy for missing teeth. While other choices may be right for certain patients, the placement of dental implants offer numerous benefits over more traditional tooth replacement options. Dental implants prevent bone loss that regularly occurs with tooth loss; they can easily last a lifetime; and since implants transfer pressure directly to the bone like natural teeth, they do not cause additional wear and tear on surrounding teeth.

The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.

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