Total Tooth Replacement Need Not Be Frightening
When you’ve lost all of your teeth, whether due to oral disease or a catastrophic accident, the prospect of total tooth replacement can be more than daunting – it can be frightening. Will oral surgery be necessary, and will that surgery be painful? It does not have to be.
Traditionally, when all teeth have been lost, the tooth replacement therapy that has been most commonly used would be a full set of dentures, both upper and lower. However, innovation and technology have always provided alternatives and, in 21st Century dentistry, the use of dental implants have replaced traditional dentures as a viable, improved alternative.
Choosing dental implants for total tooth replacement
As outlined at the website for the American Academy for Dental Implants, the placement of dental implants as a replacement for a complete set of upper or lower teeth will commonly be completed over multiple visits to your prosthodontist.
Here are the steps involved when using dental implants for total tooth replacement:
- Consultation and planning, including initial exam, imaging of your teeth, questions about your dental and medical history, and discussion of your treatment options.
- Placement of the dental implants that will be used to support your replacement teeth. Temporary teeth may be placed while the dental implant integrates with your natural bone to form a strong foundation for your replacement tooth. Most people return to work the next day, and any discomfort can typically be treated with commonly used pain medication.
- Placement of the abutments, or connectors placed on, or built into, the top of the implant to help connect your replacement teeth, if needed. Additional connecting devices needed to attach multiple replacement teeth to the implants also may be placed at this time.
- Placement of custom-made individual replacement teeth or, most often, an implant-supported fixed bridge or implant-supported over denture.
It must be noted that, while it is possible to replace teeth in a day, this solution is usually a temporary fix only. The healing process that follows placement of the dental implants will affect the fit of your prosthetics, or replacement teeth. Keep this in mind when "shopping" for a tooth replacement specialist.