Dental implants provide a stable, long lasting, and functional tooth replacement designed to resemble a natural tooth. The implant portion is surgically placed within the jawbone and attached to a crown that provides the tooth appearance. This implant concept reinforces the jawbone to help prolong its continued strength. This also reinforces the gingiva or gum tissue surrounding the area to help maintain healthy gum tissue for a longer period of time. When a tooth is missing and not replaced, the underlying and surrounding bone and tissue begins to recede over time and this has a negative impact on the adjacent teeth.
Upon visiting a periodontist, most patients are given options to replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth. Dental implants are viable options for patients with overall good oral health, sufficient jawbone in the target region of the jaw, and healthy gum tissue. If the oral health is otherwise good but the bone or tissue has begun receding, various treatment approaches can be added to the dental implant procedure to increase structural and biological support for the implant to improve results.
Alternatives to dental implants vary depending on the patient’s individual needs. Some patients may be offered a fixed or bonded bridge to replace a single missing tooth. A bridge is simply a three-tooth attachment that connects to the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth, with an attached crown connecting the two to serve as a replacement and fill the gap. A bridge may feature two complete crowns that cover the adjacent teeth, or a wing-like design that bonds to the back (or front) surface of the adjacent teeth. A bridge does not offer the same strength as a dental implant, nor does it reinforce the underlying jawbone and tissue.
Another alternative is a removable denture, usually a partial denture designed to only replace the tooth or teeth that are missing. As with a bridge, the removable partial denture does not add strength to the underlying jawbone and over time the bone and tissue will begin to recede.
For more information on dental implants and alternative treatment options, contact the office of Dr. Beth Tomlin at 214-949-1836 today!