Replacement of missing teeth
There are several options for patients wishing to replace one or more missing teeth, depending on their condition.
This type of bridge is attached permanently to the adjacent teeth using a metal retainer covered with porcelain. It replaces one or more teeth.
A Maryland bridge is supported by metal bands cemented to the adjacent teeth.
Removable complete denture
Complete dentures replace all the teeth on the upper or lower jaw. They cover the residual gums and, for upper dentures, also the roof of the mouth. They consist of artificial teeth held in an acrylic retainer, which sits on top of the gums. They are held in place by suction, with the oral mucosa providing the seal. Complete dentures are a last resort.
Removable partial denture
This prosthesis is used to replace one or more missing teeth. It is made of acrylic on a metal base, and attached to the adjacent natural teeth with clasps to hold it in place.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of titanium. They are surgically implanted in your jaw to replace natural teeth roots and serve as anchors for crowns, bridges or complete dentures.
Once in place, they progressively fuse to the bone, a process known as osseo-integration. The healing period varies depending on such factors as bone quality, the technique used and the type of restoration needed.
Getting an implant is usually considered minor surgery. Most patients who have had it say their post-operative experience was similar to recuperating from the extraction of a tooth.
A detailed examination is an essential prerequisite. The dentist who makes the restorations first examines your mouth to determine whether you are a candidate for an implant-supported prosthesis. You should then receive complete information on the advantages and drawbacks of the treatment under consideration along with the options available.
Implants are usually not advised if:
- you have specific health problems, such as uncontrolled diabetes
- the anatomy of your jaws makes it impossible to build an implant-supported restoration with a crown or prosthesis
- there is not enough bone to accommodate the implants and a bone graft is impossible
In addition, implants are not recommended for adolescents, as they are still growing.
The dentist will then conduct a detailed examination of your bone structure, using x-rays or other techniques such as CT scans. If there is not enough bone mass to hold the implant securely, a bone graft may be recommended.
For the surgery, your dentist may refer you to a generalist or specialist with the necessary expertise in implants, who will make recommendations concerning the final treatment.
The dentist responsible for restoration builds the prostheses and mounts them on your implants. This may be a generalist or a prosthodontist, who specializes in crowns, bridges and dentures.
Once your final restorations are in place, they must be checked regularly; you should visit your dentist at least once a year.
Different types of implant-supported prostheses
- Crown: the crown is cemented to the implant.
- Partial or complete fixed dentures: the implants take the place of the roots of the teeth; a partial denture may be screwed in or cemented, while a complete denture is screwed in.
- Partial or complete removable denture: the denture is attached in different ways to a bar screwed onto the implants.