While it may be unfortunate, it’s not at all uncommon for individuals to lose teeth: one, some, or all. An accident may result in tooth loss, as may ineffective dental care over time. Whatever the reason, if you do lose one tooth or many, your dentist and/or prosthodontist has a variety of ways to help you – known as tooth replacement therapy, which is something we specialize in at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry.
Here are three of the most popular and effective treatment options available tooth loss today:
Full Dentures & Partials
Dentures and partials can be used to replace all or a few of your missing teeth. They look like real teeth, and you can use them like real teeth. But of course, they’re removable. You take your dentures out at night to let your gums rest, just as you rest your entire body at night.
Dentures have evolved a great deal over the years. It used to take dentists multiple appointments, sometimes five or more, to get their patients a good fit with them. Today though, thanks to new digital technologies and compounds, we can get the same results in one or two visits.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dentures offer unquestionable value. A well-made full or partial denture can endure for many years, and can also be “refit” to any changes your mouth might undergo. For example, if you lose another tooth, a new denture tooth can be added to your old denture as a quick fix.
A bridge is a fixture placed over a gap to join two unconnected objects. A dental bridge does the same job for you. We put a replacement tooth in the place of your missing tooth and join it to two crowns on either side. A bridge might be a great option for you if the teeth on either side of the space in your mouth need crowns, too. But, if the surrounding teeth are healthy, then you might consider other treatment options and leave the healthy teeth alone.
Caution here: there are limits to the size of a dental bridge. If you’re missing six teeth in a row for example, a bridge will not be a good option for you because it won’t have enough support at the midpoint. Just like a bridge you might drive over, the best dental bridge has support at multiple points beneath it.
A dental implant is a titanium screw placed in the jaw bone that allows for an artificial tooth (crowns, bridges, or dentures) to be joined to it. Dental implants have become so effective that the American Dental Association (ADA) now recommends an implant as the “standard of care” to replace missing teeth. Implants look and feel like natural teeth, and are one of the most successful procedures contemporary dental professionals offer for tooth replacement therapy.
However, not everyone is a viable candidate for dental implants. Much can depend on your medical history and dental history, or how much bone is available to hold the implant. Your dental professional can discuss your treatment options with you.
A glimpse into the future of tooth replacement therapy
No, this is not science fiction… Some researchers have been able to use adult stem cells these to grow parts of teeth. In fact, one study was able to regrow an entire tooth root. Researchers were then able to implant the root into the jawbone and placed a crown on top of it. This treatment was successful in pigs, and it’s only a matter of time before dentists are able to use the same treatments with their human patients.
There are many different types of adult stem cells found in dental tissues. There are also some companies that will extract stem cells from your baby teeth and wisdom teeth, and store them in a tissue bank for you in case you need them one day. Dental stem cells have the potential to grow more than just teeth — heart tissue, for example, or pancreatic tissue — so it may not be a bad idea to forego the Tooth Fairy.
No matter how you may have lost your teeth, you have a few options when it comes to replacing them. The treatment time and price will vary based on which option you go with, but your dentist can go over all of that with you.
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, including total tooth replacement. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.