Alternatives to Dentures
Cosmetic dentistry offers many alternatives to dentures, including veneers, dental crowns and bridges, and tooth implants.
To maintain a healthy smile, it is important to replace missing teeth. When teeth are missing, the remaining ones often change position, which can result in damage to mouth tissues. Many people have lost teeth through accidents, disease, decay or unsuccessful root-canal procedures. If you're among them and would like to explore alternatives to dentures, consult a dental professional for options suited to your health and lifestyle. The possibilities may surprise you!
Porcelain veneers can do wonders for teeth that are badly stained, chipped, worn or fractured. The veneer restores the appearance of the tooth and adds an extra layer of strength. These very thin slices of porcelain are shaped to precisely fit the natural tooth. The veneer is bonded (or cemented) to the front of the tooth. Veneers are used only on teeth in the front of the mouth.
The veneer procedure usually involves two visits. During the first visit, the veneers are shaped to match the natural teeth. On the second visit, they are permanently bonded to the natural teeth.
Partial Dentures, Crowns & Bridges
A partial denture replaces just the teeth that are missing. It is a removable dental appliance that replaces a section of missing teeth. It can be attached with clasps to natural teeth or to teeth that contain crowns.
Crowns and denture bridges are other alternatives to standard dentures. A crown is a metal cap that fits securely over the existing tooth after it has been repaired. A denture bridge is similar to a partial denture, but it is mounted by cementing it between the natural teeth. Denture bridges feel more like natural teeth than dentures.
A dental implant is a synthetic "root" implanted permanently in the space where the natural tooth had been. This root looks like a screw or rod. A custom-made artificial tooth is secured to the screw, creating a natural-looking replacement for the lost tooth.
Dental implants have various advantages. They can slow the process of jaw aging and are much more comfortable than partial dentures. Moreover, they are not likely to result in gum shrinkage, gum irritation or speech alterations.
Unlike bridges, dental implants do not strain the surrounding teeth. Although these implants have been used for decades, the technology is now streamlined and gives minimal discomfort to the patient.
Denture stabilization (also called "single-day-implants") secures the existing lower denture by anchoring it into place using mini-dental implants.
The entire procedure can be completed in several hours. After the patient is anesthetized, a special drill is used to create a place for each implant. The average case involves six tiny implants. Each implant is held by a small finger driver that inserts the implant and acts as a screwdriver. The implant is tightened further using a winged wrench. Finally, a ratchet wrench firmly seats the implants, ensuring an accurate and lasting fit.