For a long time, dentures and bridges were the only means available to replace missing teeth. Bridges typically replaced single teeth, while dentures were used to replace many teeth or a full set of teeth.
In the 1960s, the first patients received dental implants — teeth replacements permanently fixed into the jaw — and the industry has been growing ever since. Nevertheless, dentures are not totally obsolete. There are still many situations where dentures are the best fit for a patient with missing teeth.
Nataly Vilderman, DDS, and her team offer full and partial dentures, bridges, and dental implants at their San Francisco office. They can evaluate your mouth and work with you determine which option is best for you when you’re seeking a solution for missing teeth.
Dentures are similar to a removable prosthetic limb. In fact, they serve the same basic purpose — replacing a body part that’s no longer in place. Dentures are either partial or full, meaning they replace a few teeth or an entire set of teeth.
Partial dentures, in their most common form, use artificial teeth connected through metal or a gum-colored plastic base. They attach to your existing teeth via metal clasps or internal attachments. Partial dentures also serve to keep your remaining teeth in place. You must remove and clean these dentures every night.
Full dentures are used when all of your teeth have either been removed or fallen out. They use a tooth-colored resin or porcelain set in gum-colored plastic, and they rest on your gums with a suction seal and sometimes an adhesive. Full dentures also need to be removed and cleaned each night, as bacteria and food particles can become stuck between the plastic and your gums.
Implants are replacement teeth, permanently affixed during a surgical procedure. The porcelain or resin replacement tooth, or crown, is attached to a screw that’s implanted into your jawbone.
You clean implants the same way you do the rest of your teeth, as they are permanent and most likely will not need to be replaced. Implants are better at keeping your mouth and teeth structure intact due to their placement directly in your jawbone. In some cases, implants may be used to hold up dentures.
Implants need healthy jaws and gums to stay in place. The implant screw needs enough bone to hold onto, and the implant needs your gums to grow around the implant and offer additional support. If your jaw or gums are unhealthy or weak, implants may not be an option.
In this case, dentures are a better option for a full smile. With the improved look and feel of today’s dentures, only the most astute observers will notice they’re not real teeth.
Also, if you have medical issues that prevent you from undergoing surgery, dentures may be your only option. This is especially true for the elderly and ill.
Missing teeth doesn’t just affect your smile and confidence. Start your journey toward a new, healthier smile by setting up a consultation with Dr. Vilderman to discuss your teeth replacement options. Call or request an appointment online today.