There are three basic options for replacing missing teeth: dental bridges, dental implants, and removable partial dentures.
A dental bridge usually consists of a false tooth or teeth suspended between two natural teeth. The natural teeth are crowned, and the bridge is cemented in the mouth as one unit. The diagram on the right illustrates how this is done. While this works well for one missing tooth, or possibly two adjacent missing teeth, it is inadequate for replacing multiple missing teeth. Long-span bridges put too much stress on the adjacent teeth.
A removable partial denture is a more economical way to replace multiple missing teeth. A removable appliance is constructed with replacement teeth on it, and it clasps to natural teeth to give it stability. It is the least comfortable way to replace missing teeth. Many people don’t like the feeling of extra hardware in their mouth. But, if it is made well, it can be very functional and stable and last many years. The picture on the right is of an upper removable partial denture.
Partial dentures also place stress on the remaining teeth, and trap food around the clasps. If you have a partial, it’s important to be diligent about your oral hygiene. Excuse yourself and remove the partial after every time you eat anything, clean it off, swish with water or brush your teeth, and place it back in your mouth. Also be sure to have it adjusted any time it feels like its fit has changed or it begins to move more in function.
If it fits into your budget, Dr. Markovitch strongly recommends dental implants for multiple missing teeth. They help preserve the health of your remaining teeth and are much more comfortable and functional. No work is required on your remaining teeth. They feel like you have your own natural teeth back. Placement of a dental implant also helps prevent the bone loss that often occurs after a tooth is permanently lost.
Dr. Markovitch is one of the leading implant restorative dentists in Westchester.
For more information, please visit our main dental implants page.