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  • Taking care of one smile at a time.  

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Teeth Replacement

1. Implants

2. Fixed Bridges

3. Removable Bridges
What is involved in placing implants?
First, surgery is performed to place the implant. Up
to six months may be required for the bone to grow
around the implant to firmly hold it in place. In certain
cases, dentists can use techniques that may allow
immediate use of the implant. Some implants require a
second surgery in which a post is attached to connect
the replacement teeth. With other implants, the implant
and post are one unit placed in the mouth during the
initial surgery.
After healing, the next step is begun. The replacement
tooth is made and fitted to the post portion of the
implant. Because several fittings may be required, this
step can take one month or longer to complete.
Implant surgery can be done either in a dental office
as an outpatient procedure or in a hospital, depending
upon a number of factors. A local or general anesthetic
may be used. Usually pain medications and, when
necessary, antibiotics are prescribed. Your dentist will
give you instructions on diet and oral hygiene.
Dental implants can provide replacement teeth that
look natural and feel secure, and also can be used to
support complete or partial dentures. It is possible to
stabilize dentures and eliminate the need to remove
them each day.
Advantages of implants:
• an implant is most similar to a natural tooth
• adjacent teeth do not have to be involved in the placement procedure
• implants may decrease or help prevent shrinkage of the jawbone from tooth loss
• implants are not intended for everyone
• implant placement takes longer and may require
more dental visits than alternative procedures
General dentists usually determine if an implant is
appropriate for you, but sometimes they may refer
you to a dental specialist for additional care. Following
are some of the dental specialists who may be called
upon, and brief descriptions of their areas of expertise:
prosthodontist — restoration and replacement of teeth
• oral and maxillofacial surgeon — dental surgery
• periodontist — periodontal (gum) disease a bridge attached to implants.
2. Fixed bridges
Another alternative is a fixed bridge (sometimes called a
fixed partial denture). This is a restoration that replaces
or spans the space where one or more teeth have been
lost. A fixed bridge is bonded or cemented into place —
only a dentist can remove it.
Your appearance, dental health and the proper
functioning of your mouth all are important reasons
for wearing a fixed bridge. It helps maintain the natural
shape of your face and may help support your lips and
If you need an extensive fixed bridge procedure, your
dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist.
How a fixed bridge is attached
A fixed bridge is commonly cemented or bonded to
the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing
teeth. An artificial tooth (called a pontic) replaces the
lost natural tooth, and restores its function. A pontic is
attached to a crown (restoration that covers a tooth).
Crowns, which are cemented on adjacent prepared
teeth, serve as retainers that support the fixed bridge.
Different types of fixed bridges
A fixed bridge can be attached to your natural teeth.
Different types of artificial teeth may be used in fixed
bridges. These include gold, porcelain fused to metal,
and all-porcelain.
In some instances, a resin-bonded fixed bridge
(sometimes called a “Maryland bridge”) can be used
to replace one or more missing teeth. Because it is
attached by a special procedure called bonding, it
doesn’t require the use of crowns or extensive tooth
preparation. Your dentist can determine whether this
treatment method is appropriate for you.
Advantages of fixed bridges:
• look, feel and function like natural teeth
• no need to remove from mouth for cleaning
• likely to be more expensive than removable bridges
• affects the adjoining teeth
Teeth adjacent to the gap are
The custom-made bridge is
fitted and adjusted.
After adjustments are made,
the bridge is cemented into
3. Removable bridges
As its name describes, a removable bridge (sometimes
called a removable partial denture) readily can be taken
out of the mouth for cleaning. Although removable
bridges generally are less expensive, fixed bridges,
when indicated, may feel more stable and comfortable.
Depending on your situation, however, a removable
bridge may be for you. Removable bridges usually have
replacement teeth attached to gum-colored plastic
bases connected by metal framework. They may attach
to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices
called precision attachments. A claspless removable
bridge, when indicated, may provide better support and
esthetics. Crowns on your natural teeth may improve
the way a removable bridge fits your mouth. Ask your
dentist which type is right for you.
Growing accustomed to a removable bridge
Inserting and removing the new removable bridge takes
some practice. It may feel awkward for the first few
weeks. However, your mouth eventually should become
accustomed to it. The bridge should fit into place with
relative ease.
Your dentist can explain how long the removable bridge
should be worn and when it should be removed. At
the start, you may be asked to wear it for the first 24
hours. While this may temporarily cause discomfort,
it is the quickest way to identify any parts requiring
adjustment. If the bridge puts too much pressure on
one area, that spot will become sore. Your dentist
can adjust the bridge to fit more comfortably. Once
adjusted, your dentist may recommend that you
remove the bridge before going to sleep and replace it
when you awaken.
Once your missing teeth are replaced, eating should
be a much more pleasant experience. Since missing
teeth can make it difficult to speak clearly, wearing a
removable bridge can help with that, too.
Over time, as you age and your mouth changes, your
removable bridge may no longer fit well. It also could
break, crack or chip, or one of the teeth could loosen.
In many instances, dentists can make the necessary
adjustment or repairs, often on the same day. But
complicated repairs may take longer.
If you need extensive dental reconstruction, including
a removable bridge, your dentist will provide the
treatment or refer you to a prosthodontist.
Advantages of removable bridge over fixed bridge
• usually easier to repair
• usually less expensive
• removable bridges can be less stable than alternative choices
• they can break or be lost
• some people find removable bridges uncomfortable
• some people are embarrassed to take out their teeth
at night and for cleaning

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