Have you lost a tooth? Would you like your tooth back? Do you want to chew better with a full set of teeth?
There are three ways to replace a tooth. A dental partial is removable and can replace any number of teeth on both sides of your mouth. The disadvantage is that you need to remove it regularly to clean it. Partials are held in place by suction or by small hooks on remaining teeth. A lower partial denture is very difficult to fit because there is not a lot of suction on the lower arch.
A second option is preparing something called a bridge. This is replacing the missing tooth by preparing the adjacent teeth to hold crowns. These are made of gold or porcelain and fit precisely on the prepared teeth. The bridge fills the gap created by the missing tooth/ teeth. That is why it is called a bridge. The new centre tooth bridges the missing tooth. The bridge is permanently glued onto the teeth and is not removable. The disadvantage is that the two adjacent teeth may be perfectly healthy. A bridge would require reducing healthy teeth down so that crowns can be fitted over. However if the two adjacent teeth have already been heavily restored than it would make sense to prepare them for crowns that will cover them and therefore protect them for many years.
Let’s look at implants as a procedure to achieve the goal of replacing a missing tooth. The implant is placed in the bone area of the ridge where the tooth is missing. The principle is to have the implant integrate with the natural bone and become solid making it a stable support for a crown or a denture.
There are two major types of implants. They are: small diameter or standard size. Small diameter implants are 3.0 mm or smaller and standard implants are 3.0 mm or larger. Your dentist will choose the type of implant to use based on the specific problem being solved and the amount of bone available to accept the implant.
The main advantage is that they are a true root replacement that allows the replacement tooth/teeth to be stable and as close to the natural tooth as possible. The implant can also be used to stabilize dentures. This is especially true for people who have difficulty fitting dentures due to their arch or lack of bone. Imagine dentures that are anchored on top of very solid implants. We call these rock solid dentures.
Generally an implant can replace more than 1 tooth, or help maintain bone. Bone loss makes our lip sink in later years. Saving the bone in our arch also preserves the arch for any future dental work. Implants builds confidence in both function and looks. They are a conservative way of restoring dentition. This is especially true as healthy natural teeth do not have to be touched as in the case of preparing a bridge.
If you live in downtown Vancouver BC you can get a standard implant at Willow Dental Care West End Downtown Vancouver