If you are missing all your natural lower or upper teeth, you have three good options for restoring full dentition and enjoying life again. I’ll start with the most desirable solution.
The implant-supported bridge
This is a great solution if you are missing some or all your teeth, either upper or lower, and do not want teeth that are removable.
If you have adequate bone support in your jaw, good gums, and a healthy mouth as well as good overall health, six to eight implanted titanium posts may be enough to secure your bridge or denture permanently and greatly improve the quality of your life. Your dentist will be able to remove the appliance by loosening the screws that hold it in place, but you will not be able to remove it. (If cement is used instead of screws, removal may be more difficult.)
In the long run, implants can be the easiest option. They are much like your natural teeth and last longer than a conventional denture. Implants allow you to chew normally, and here’s why: With a regular denture, you can exert about 35 lbs. of bite force (not enough for tough meat), whereas with a bridge attached to implants, you can exert 162 lbs. of force, just as you could with natural teeth.
However, even bridges attached to implants have limitations:
• They are expensive because complex lab work is required to apply very
precise measurements to all parts.
• Chipping of porcelain caused by normal wear and tear may require repair or even removal and reconstruction.
• If the bridge is cemented and one side loosens, it may be impossible to
remove the bridge without destroying the other side.
• Your lip line and smile must be taken into account to allow for proper
cleaning of the bridge. That means the ridge of the artificial gumline cannot be allowed to show when you smile, yet it must be reachable for cleaning.
There are ways around some of these problems, but they involve higher costs, which should be discussed with your dentist if he or she proposes using them. In any case, the problems themselves are infrequent. Many patients consider the risks worth taking in order to have the best possible substitute for natural teeth.
The fixed denture (nonremovable)
Our second solution is a hybrid plastic-and-metal denture screwed into place on implanted posts. It is fixed and cannot be removed by the patient, though it can be by your dentist. This appliance is less costly because the pink gum “tissue” on top of the metal base is made of plastic. The artificial teeth can be made of plastic or porcelain, depending on your budget.
As with our first option, the front rim of this appliance must be cleanable without being visible. In fact, this option may not be for you if your lip moves high on your teeth when you smile. If your lip needs the support of the pink acrylic lip on the denture, then a removable denture, possibly held in place by implants, may be your best choice.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Stonisch to find the best solution for your missing teeth. Call the Faircourt Dental Smile Studio at 313-486-0084 or reach out to us on the contact form on our website.