What are the Different Methods to Replace Missing Teeth Answered by Michigan Dentist

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What are the Different Methods to Replace Missing Teeth Answered by Michigan Dentist

Question:   During a home visit I had a question presented to me from our patient’s wife.  She asked me what’s the difference between a partial denture and a bridge.  Below is what I explained to her.

Answer:  I will answer the question by first addressing the question more generally.  I will rephrase the question to-What are the different methods available to replace missing teeth?

  • Complete Denture–  If someone is missing all of their teeth then a complete denture may be the best solution for replacing them. The complete denture can be the most affordable method to replace teeth.  The problem with this option is that the patient is able to only bite down with about 20% of the force they could with natural teeth.  They also do not stay firmly fixed to the jaws unless implants or natural teeth are used as anchors.  Lower complete dentures depend on the tongue and lip to keep them in place and the upper dentures use suction to stay loosely attached to the roof of the mouth.  Dentures need to be maintained by relining every 2-3 years to compensate for bone loss under the denture.  Their life expectancy is between 5-8 years.
  • Partial Denture-This option is usually used with patients who have a few healthy teeth remaining in their mouth.  Partial dentures stay in the mouth by using the remaining teeth to act as anchors.  They need to be removed and cleaned after eating and at bedtime.  The advantage of a partial denture is that it can replace many teeth using one device.  The disadvantage is that it needs to be removed and cleaned.  Because this prosthetic device requires healthy teeth for support that means that the patient needs to brush and follow strict hygiene program.  They also need to visit the dentist regularly to have their teeth cleaned.
  • Fixed bridge– A fixed bridge uses two or more natural teeth on both sides of the missing tooth space as anchors.  The teeth adjacent to the missing tooth space are reshaped to accept a bridge.  A temporary bridge is used to cover the reshaped teeth while being made at the laboratory.  The tooth colored porcelain bridge is cemented in place after it is made at the dental laboratory.  Since it is cemented to the teeth it has the feel of a natural tooth and your ability to eat with it is far superior than a partial denture.
  • Implant crown-This is the most natural way to replace missing teeth.  An implant is a titanium root that is placed into the bone.  A crown is placed over this “manmade root” to give the appearance and function of a natural tooth.  The advantage of this treatment is that the adjacent teeth are not affected like in the case of a fixed bridge.  Your ability to brush and floss is just like never having a tooth replaced.

What are the Different Methods to Replace Missing Teeth Answered by Michigan Dentist

Of course every situation is different and requires the expertise of the treating dentist and the patient’s input to determine which method is best.  If you would like to have a second opinion or an initial evaluation please call our Shelby Township office at 586-247-3500.

What are the Different Methods to Replace Missing Teeth Answered by Michigan Dentist

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