I often see patients who have lost a tooth or teeth who are seeking options for completing their smiles. I love to help them work through the treatment plan that is best for their needs. Lost teeth can cause more than health problems, they can cause embarrassment, affect your self-esteem, and even change the way your face looks. Tooth loss can lead to speech problems, chewing problems, gum and jaw problems and headaches, nutrition problems, social unease, anxiety, and self-consciousness. Possibly worst of all, and breaks my heart, tooth loss often leads to the loss of one of my patient’s most valuable assets, a beautiful smile!
With our state of the art dentistry, we can help your physical health, your mental health, and your beautiful smile! You have options for tooth replacement.
We find that dental implants are the best and most comfortable option for our healthy patients. Dental implants are lifelong investments that provide a permanent solution for a tooth or teeth missing due to periodontal disease, injury, or for any reason. Dental implants mimic your natural teeth, with a crown or permanent bridge mounted to artificial tooth roots, placed into your bone (endosteal). The dental implant can be in the form of screws or cylinders I insert surgically into the jawbone. This implant is then ready for crowns, bridges, or removable dentures. Once your implants are permanently in place, they need no extra care and should be cared for like your natural teeth: twice a day brushing, proper flossing, and twice a year professional cleanings and checkups. As a periodontist, I have specific knowledge and training, and the facilities needed, to ensure you will have new teeth that look, feel, and perform just like your own!
A fixed bridge may be used if there are healthy, strong teeth adjacent to the missing tooth area. But, with a fixed bridge, those healthy teeth are cut down, reduced in size, removing enamel. Then a bridge is made with prosthetic teeth and attached to the prepared healthy teeth, providing a functional and cosmetically pleasing replacement for the missing tooth or teeth. If there is only one tooth missing, I recommend an implant with a crown, because costs are about the same, and there is no need to cut down healthy teeth. When there are several missing teeth, it may be an immediately cheaper alternative to multiple dental implants, but be aware that the average life expectancy for a bridge is ten to twelve years. By having two implants, a permanent bridge can be attached for superior results.
As a periodontist, I see the damage done by fixed bridges and the irreversible damage done to perfectly healthy teeth when preparing for a bridge. This damage can lead to trauma to the nerves, requiring expensive root canal treatment. There will be more trauma to healthy teeth when the bridge needs replacement. There is also increased risk for cavities and periodontal bone loss in those once healthy teeth. My first choice is usually dental implants. At my office, AtlantaPeriodontics.com, we are happy to speak with you about a payment plan, when cost is a consideration.
In the last century it was assumed that dentures and aging were synonymous. Removable partial or full dentures were the options of choice. Removable dentures can replace a single missing tooth, or several missing teeth, by hooking onto remaining healthy teeth. The partial must be carefully fitted, ensuring that biting pressures are evenly distributed, to prevent damage to gums and remaining healthy teeth. When all of the teeth are missing, full dentures are an option, if dental implants are out of the question. Full dentures rely on mechanical support and can eventually damage gums and lead to bone loss. Both partial and full dentures require a break-in time for you and your mouth to get used to them. You must remove them at night to give your tissues a break. To be healthy, your gums need air and good blood circulation. Dentures should be carefully cleaned and stored each night. Partial and full dentures may not help you chew properly and are not as comfortable as implants and bridges.
The least attractive choice for missing tooth replacement is doing nothing! After teeth are removed, for whatever reason, the supporting bone will shrink over time. This process, resorption, is the natural result when the tooth is gone and the underlying bone is no longer stimulated by the forces placed on the teeth above. This resorption begins almost immediately after the tooth is gone, and proceeds over time, resulting in loss of bone height and width, and shrinking of the gum (which causes another whole set of problems). With the loss of multiple teeth, there is significant loss of bone and further gum problems. Loss of one tooth or more causes damage to the rest of the teeth in the mouth: teeth drift out of alignment, some lean in or out, opposing teeth drift up or down into the open space, some “drift” towards the front, you get the picture and it is not pretty! In my periodontal practice, I see many patients who have serious problems from doing nothing when faced with tooth loss. All of this shifting and drifting creates dental decay and progressive gum disease, leading to serious periodontal disease. Drifting teeth also negatively affect your bite, as well as the look of your smile and face, and can cause physical problems, like headaches.
YOU HAVE CHOICES FOR MISSING TEETH
If you are missing a tooth or teeth, you have choices. You are probably a good candidate for one or more of them. Implants are my treatment of choice for a number of reasons: longevity, stability, strength, and the look and feel of your natural teeth! I am happy to meet with you for a free consultation where we can together evaluate your needs. AtlantaPeriodontics.com offers payment plans also designed to meet your needs. As I said before, with our state of the art dentistry, we can help your physical health, your mental health, and your beautiful smile!
Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with your questions or concerns about dental health for children and adults.