A New Set of Teeth...
One promising trend in dentistry is a reduction in the number of patients with no remaining teeth (complete edentulism). This trend has been attributed to improvements in dental technology, overall healthcare, preventive dentistry, and a better understanding by patients on how to maintain their own oral health.
For the 35 million Americans without any teeth, that means nothing. Fortunately, dentistry continues to improve and has given patients many options for replacing lost teeth.
Conventional dentures are the most economical solution for having no teeth. Improved techniques and materials allow for conventional dentures to be extremely esthetic and comfortable. Unfortunately, the success or failure of a conventional denture is largely determined by the remaining bony anatomy of a patient’s jaws. By far, the biggest complaint dentists hear about conventional dentures is that they float around and will not stay in place when chewing or talking.
Conventional dentures can be much improved with the addition of dental implants. These titanium root replacements allow conventional dentures to snap securely into place. Implant retained dentures can be more comfortable than conventional dentures because they can be made in a horseshoe shape that does not cover the roof of the mouth. Dental implants can also be used to put snaps into existing sets of dentures or partials to improve their stability.
The most natural and most expensive tooth replacement is called an implant supported hybrid fixed partial denture. In English, this is a full set of teeth that is screwed into place by a dentist connecting multiple implants. These “hybrids” can only be removed in a dental office and must be taken out and cleaned periodically. They are as close as we can get to replacing natural teeth. Their disadvantages are high cost, ongoing maintenance, and they can sometimes be difficult to clean.
There is usually more than one way to replace missing teeth. If the time comes, visit with your dentist and see which tooth replacement options best fit into your life.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.