Have you ever heard someone say that something “has teeth”? I was a bit surprised when I looked up the meaning of the phrase because I was expecting it to be something like “contains a lot of truth” but what came up was “have the power to make people obey”
If you have teeth of your own, then you may not need to read the rest of this article, but if you’re missing one or more teeth, you may have noticed that the way your teeth come together has changed or that how they look has changed. If you’re missing several teeth, you might even notice that you have a hard time chewing food. (In fact, malnutrition is a big factor in people who wear dentures because they are unable to chew certain foods.)
There are several ways to replace missing teeth:
- Dental implants are as close to a tooth replacement as you can get right now. There is a root like part that is anchored in the jawbone, just like your natural tooth’s root is. The tooth is built on that root implant. These can be used if you have just one tooth missing or you can put one in for each tooth you’re missing. If you have several teeth in the same area that are missing, you can put a dental bridge on two (or more) dental implants.
- Fixed Bridges place crowns or wings over the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. It is cemented to your teeth so you don’t need to take it in and out of your mouth.
- Removable traditional partials have a metal framework and arms that circle your teeth. These arms are usually metal colored. Sometimes white or tooth colored arms can be used for an additional fee. The artificial teeth can be held onto the metal framework by metal posts under the tooth or within a pink colored acrylic (plastic-like) material. As the name implies, these are something that you would need to remove while sleeping. Partials are often used when there are many teeth that need to be replaced.
- Removable Flexible Base partials are made of a special type of acrylic that bends and flexes more than the standard acrylic does. Often the arms that go around your tooth can be made of this flexible material (either pink or clear) to make them less noticeable. Until recently, it was hard to add to or change this type of partial if something happened (like you lost another tooth), but newer products seem to have corrected this issue. They do need to be taken out of the mouth while sleeping.
- Unilateral partials are also removable and because of their smaller size, definitely need to be taken out whenever you sleep. You may have heard them called “bug” partials because when they are sitting on a counter, they do look a bit like a bug with the artificial tooth as the “body” and the arms that go around the tooth in front of and behind the missing tooth looking like “legs”. (Like the fixed bridge, this type of partial can only be used if you have teeth on either side of the missing tooth to support the appliance.)
- Full dentures replace all of your natural teeth. They can rest (or float) on your gum tissue or be attached to dental implant like devices to give them an anchor point.
We hope you never have to lose a tooth (other than maybe your wisdom teeth), but isn’t it nice to know that there is a way to have teeth if you don’t have your own?
If you have missing teeth and would like to replace them, Dr. Jennifer Robb invites you to join her dental practice by calling 440-960-1940. Her office is located at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH on the Lorain/Amherst border. She is taking new patients.
www.drjrobb.com or Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
You can find out more about these teeth replacement options by using the Patient Education tab on this website. (Some information is under Cosmetic & General Dentistry and some is under Implant Dentistry)