Replacing missing teeth is not a simple matter of appearance or esthetics. If you’re among the estimated 178 million Americans who are missing at least one tooth or the 40 million Americans who don’t have any teeth, you can attest to the fact that although missing teeth can be embarrassing and wreak havoc on your self-esteem, not having functioning teeth may have many health implications as well.
For instance, diving into a steak dinner at your favorite restaurant or enjoying your favorite foods can be challenging at best when you don’t have functioning teeth to bite and chew properly. Health implications don’t end with nutrition or how you fuel your body though. Missing teeth can also impact your speech and can contribute to bone loss and decreased bone density, which can ultimately create that sunken face look.
Ultimately, patients with missing teeth usually get to a point of wanting to replace their missing teeth, but they aren’t sure where to start. They know that full and partial dentures are the typical go-to for replacing missing teeth, but they just can’t picture themselves wearing them. Or worse yet, they remember the embarrassing stories about a close friend or relative who had ill-fitting dentures.
Give dentures a second look, says Louis Russell Jr., DDS here at Russell Family Dentistry, in Tomball, Texas. In this blog, Dr. Russell shares his insights on new and improved dentures.
Let’s start this conversation by saying that dentures have been around for centuries. Over the past couple decades though conventional removable dentures have gotten a major upgrade.
Innovations in how impressions are made to ensure a good fit as well as the materials that dental laboratories use to make dentures have enhanced the quality of today’s dentures. Both material and workmanship have greatly impacted the comfort, fit, and appearance, making them look and feel more like natural teeth than ever before.
The innovations on replacing missing teeth don’t begin and end with removable dentures. Now, there’s a wide range of options for replacing missing teeth so that patients have additional choices in addition to traditional dentures. Think fixed bridges and implant-supported dentures.
You may be familiar with the use of dental bridges to close the gap between missing teeth. Traditional bridges are composed of an artificial tooth or teeth depending on how many teeth you are missing and are suspended between two healthy teeth. This type of bridge is anchored by crowns attached to the teeth on either side of the gap.
Implant-supported bridges are principally the same except that instead of using crowns to anchor the restoration, dental implants are used. Since dental implants are fused to the jawbone during the healing process, fixed implant-supported bridges are not only strong, but they’re also secure and stable.
Another method to restore missing teeth is implant-supported dentures, which blends the best of both worlds – traditional dentures and dental implants. With implant-supported dentures instead of the prosthetic resting on gum tissue, the dentures are securely attached using dental implants, removing any possibility of slipping and sliding issues.
The way the procedure plays out is that once Dr. Russell does a complete evaluation and if he confirms that you’re a good candidate for implant-supported dentures, he’ll start the process by surgically placing titanium posts in your jaw for each implant, which will be used to anchor your dentures. Over the next several months, a healing process known as osseointegration takes place.
During osseointegration each post fuses to your jawbone. Once proper healing is completed, Dr. Russell takes an impression of your mouth. He color matches so that the dentures color-complement your skin tone and facial features. He sends all this data to a dental laboratory, which fabricates your dentures. When your custom-made dentures return from the dental lab, Dr. Russell completes the procedure by attaching the dentures to the implants.
What’s great about these new and improved dentures and prosthetics is that they’re not only comfortable, but they’re also natural-looking. As if that weren’t enough, they are so long lasting that may be the last dentures you’ll ever need. They definitely aren’t your grandfather’s dentures.
In addition to dental implant restorations like fixed implant-supported bridges and implant-supported dentures, Russell Family Dentistry also offers patients dental implants. If you’re missing teeth and want to learn about your best treatment option, schedule a consultation with Dr. Russell. Contact us online, or call our office at (281) 351-5458 to schedule your appointment.