Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift. Shifting teeth can lead to a number of problems, including misalignment, bite problems, and more. In order to avoid these problems, your dentist may recommend a dental bridge, dentures, or dental implant.
Full dentures are a set of artificial teeth that are used when all the natural teeth are missing. They sit on a pink base that is made of soft, durable plastic or resin. The base is designed to be suctioned onto the mouth and is typically shaped like a horseshoe. The teeth are molded into a gum-colored base to make them look and feel natural. They are typically designed to stay in place without the need for denture adhesives. However, it is still important to clean and soak the dentures overnight to keep them clean. When compared to dental implants, full dentures tend to be less expensive, but they are less stable over time, and they can affect speech and chewing ability.
Partial dentures are used to fill in gaps where a few teeth are missing. They attach to existing teeth with the use of metal or plastic attachments known as clasps. The partial dentures are usually made of tooth-colored acrylics that look like gums. Still, they may need to be replaced more often due to wear and tear on the fixtures. Compared to dental implants, partial dentures tend to be more affordable and can more easily be adjusted to better fit the patient’s individual needs.
A bridge is made up of two or more dental crowns, which are attached to natural teeth on either side. The crowns fit over the existing teeth and provide support from the gumline to hold the bridge in place. Since a bridge is cemented into place and supported by the gums, it is not removable like a partial denture. However, bridges can be cleaned like normal teeth and require the same oral care. In addition, since the crowns are bonded to the existing teeth, they remain in place and are not easily removed by the patient when flossing or brushing. Bridges also help maintain the shape of the face by preventing the shifting of adjacent teeth. This is especially helpful when the missing teeth are in the back of the mouth, where the tooth support is naturally weaker.
Bridges are typically made from porcelain fused with metal or ceramic material to match the color of the patient’s existing teeth. The bridge has a natural appearance and provides a strong bite force. It also prevents the neighboring teeth from moving out of place and creates a more balanced smile.
Dental implants are a very popular option for replacing missing teeth because they look, feel, and function like natural teeth. They are permanently attached to the jawbone, just like the roots of your natural teeth. This prevents the teeth from shifting out of place due to the loss of these supporting structures.
We may recommend dental implants if a crown or bridge isn’t a good option for restoring your smile. Although implants are placed in the jawbone itself, they are made to look and feel as natural as possible to give patients the most seamless results possible. By choosing to get dental implants instead of other options for missing teeth, you are giving yourself the best chance at keeping your teeth in proper alignment.
Request an appointment or call Osuna Dental Care: Chris Y. Kim DDS, at 505-884-1989 for an appointment in our Albuquerque office.