There seems to be a lot of questions on social media regarding full mouth reconstruction, missing teeth, and options for when you lose a tooth or multiple teeth. With that being said, we want to address a growing trend in patient awareness that we are concerned about.
You see, many patients question or ask us if it is really necessary to replace missing teeth with dental implants or ask why are dentures not an ideal fix for missing or failing teeth. This is truly concerning because, missing teeth— if not properly remedied with a permanent resolution utilizing dental implants or full mouth reconstruction, can bring about the onset of many other health problems.
Tooth Loss Is A Serious Matter
Most adults have a full set of teeth barring some abnormality. That’s 32 teeth made up of incisors, premolars, canines, and molars. However, by about ages 50-65 many adults have suffered the loss of at least one tooth. In fact, one out of every four Americans over 65 have lost ALL of their teeth.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
Tooth loss can occur for many reasons but the most common causes are gum disease, decay, and dental trauma.
Gum diseases attack at the tissue and the ligaments of the gums. Your gums provide stability and are the anchor for your teeth as well as responsible for protecting your roots and stimulating your jawbone growth.
Tooth decay happens when bacteria turns starches and sugars that accumulate in your mouth into highly corrosive acids that etch away the protective layer of enamel around your teeth. This leads to cavities which end up killing the tooth altogether.
Serious facial injuries whether from sports, automobile accidents, or other types of trauma can cause tooth loss as well as acute trauma to your jawbone. Often times this trauma becomes evident only after months or years have passed leaving the tooth already exposed to prolonged damage.
Each Of Your Teeth Play A Critical Role
All teeth play a specific role based on their location, size, and shape. They help to chew food, enhance speech, and serve a cosmetic purpose in making up your smile. Your teeth also play a critical role in the structure of your mouth and are codependent on your other teeth for stability. When one tooth is missing all of the teeth suffer and it leads to serious consequences.
When you have one or more teeth missing, it can cause the other teeth to shift causing unbalanced bite pressure onto other teeth. This imbalance, over time, can cause misalignment of all of your teeth, similar to a train derailment. Missing teeth also leave your gums susceptible to trapped food particles that build up bacteria and lead to gum disease.
One of the most severe consequences of not replacing a tooth as that the bone that used to be around the root will begin to soften and eventually erode away because it is not being stimulated. This can cause unsightly dental problems that can wreak havoc on your self-image.
Full Mouth Reconstruction And Other Replacement Options
No matter which option you go with based on your budget, needs, and limitations, Even the most basic option last for a few years at the very least. The American Dental Association (ADA) emphasizes how important it is to choose an option that suits you best.
Implants have become the preferred solution for many patients who lose a tooth or a full arch for that matter. Since dental implants give a secure and stable foundation for replacement teeth, they can be used as a better alternative to bridges and dentures.
They are designed custom to your fitment and appearance as well as feeling and looking like your own original teeth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth or several teeth should you need.
The implant itself is not visible to the eye. It is a small medical-grade post made out of titanium which is biocompatible. This post is fixed into the jawbone, provided it’s healthy and the bone grows around it and bonds. When the implant and bone are bonded an abutment is added so it can hold the tooth securely, and then the crown is attached to that.
One of the biggest advantages of dental implants and full mouth reconstruction is that biting, speaking, and chewing are not impacted like they are with other dentures or bridges. Also, bite strength is not affected with dental implants, so really it’s like you never lost any teeth.
A more cosmetic advantage to dental implants is that they are indistinguishable from natural teeth. This means dental implants not only keep your physical health in good shape but also your self-image and emotional health.
Dental implants are also much more convenient. Since it is a permanent addition to your jawbone, unlike dentures or bridges, there’s no awkward removal issues, or trouble eating certain foods. Many people find dental implants much easier to maintain since they just require normal dental hygiene even though they can’t decay.
When you have more than one tooth missing but not all of an arch or both arches, a dental bridge may be a budget solution at least on the surface. A dental bridge is comprised of several replacement teeth fused to a metal frame that is supported by the teeth on either side of the gap.
This is not ideal if you can get dental implants because the teeth on either side actually have to be ground down to make room for the bridge. So, right off the bat, you are doing more damage to your teeth so you can replace some missing ones. It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul, it isn’t the best option, and eventually will catch up with you. Since dental bridges are not implanted into the jawbone, they aren’t a permanent fix to the core issue. Your jawbone will still degrade where it’s not stimulated, and the bridge will mostly serve in a cosmetic capacity.
Complete dentures which comprise replacement teeth for the upper and lower arch of teeth that are fitted about a month after the teeth have been extracted or fallen out. Dentures are designed to stay in place with suction to the roof of the mouth and some denture adhesive.
Dentures can be quite awkward as it feels foreign in your mouth, so it can cause speech impediments and trouble eating. It takes quite a bit of getting used to, but dentures are a viable solution if you cannot get implants due to missing some of your jawbone or having weak bone density.
While traditional dentures are just formed using a heat curing procedure that can cause shrinkage—cosmetic dentures are a slightly different animal. Cosmetic dentures possess a special acrylic base that does not allow shrinkage, which helps with fitment. An experienced cosmetic dentist can ensure that your dentures look natural. While standard dentures are formed with a heat curing process, cosmetic dentures have a special acrylic base that prevents shrinkage.
All that being said, dental implants and full mouth reconstruction are still the best choices you can make for your dental health if you are a good candidate for either one of the services.
Who Is A Candidate For Full Mouth Reconstruction & Dental Implants?
Getting dental implants or full mouth reconstruction isn’t as simple as getting dentures or just implanting some prosthetic teeth and sending you on your way. It requires careful evaluation to ensure the safe but delicate procedure is a good fit for you. This procedure is equivalent to going to the hospital for minor surgery such as a hernia repair or gallbladder removal—so due diligence is crucial.
What Makes Someone A Good Candidate For Dental Implant Surgery?
The optimal candidate for implant surgery is a patient that meets the following criteria:
- Missing at least one tooth
- Has a severely damaged tooth
- Despite the situation exhibits signs of good oral hygiene
- Has a strong jawbone with no atrophy to support an implant
- Is in decent physical health overall
At Stone Ridge Dental, Dr. Monarres will ensure you meet these criteria and then go further in-depth with imaging of your jaw, 3D scans, and testing for bone density. He does this because to achieve the incredulous success rate that he has with these procedures—he leaves no detail on the table. All potential hazards if any, are evaluated and there are explicit contingency plans in place should a difficulty arise.
However, that being said the good news is, you will be in the hands one of the foremost dental implant and full mouth reconstruction surgeons in North America.
The Decision For A Healthier, Complete Smile Is All Yours
If you are tired of living with missing teeth and the problems that come with it, you need to contact us right away. We can get you scheduled for your free consultation to find out if you are a good candidate for our services.
The consultation is no risk and you’ll learn valuable knowledge about the state of your dental health with the comprehensive dental exam and imaging you will get during the session.
Contact us today to bring your smile back to life!