Treatment Options For Missing Teeth

Whole Dental Wellness

Every tooth is made up of a crown and a root, or several roots. The crown of the tooth is the part that is visible in the mouth. The tooth root, or roots, anchor the tooth into the jawbone.

In health, this root is visible only on dental x-rays. When a tooth is lost, it is necessary to replace both the tooth crown and root. A dental implant is a replacement for the root component of a tooth. For implant placement, it is essential that you work with a highly trained surgeon who can manage placing your implant in an ideal position. In some cases, it may be necessary to “grow back” missing bone or gum tissue prior to placement of your dental implant to obtain both an ideal aesthetic and functional result.

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Six out of ten Americans are missing one or more teeth and require dental implants.

Replacing several teeth

When several adjacent teeth are missing, an implant supported bridge is an excellent way to replace them.

This type of restoration is similar to a regular dental bridge, but instead of being supported by your natural teeth the bridge is supported by implants placed in key positions to allow for equal stress distribution during chewing. A bridge is attached to two or more implants. The number of implants required to replace several missing teeth depends on many factors, including the quantity and quality of existing bone, your bite, and other anatomical factors. There are several reasons your periodontist and general dentist may recommend this type of restoration, all of which will be discussed with you at the initial consultation appointment.

Case Study 1

Deep decay beneath existing bridge in the upper left quadrant requires removal of the first and second molars. The upper left first molar was extracted and a socket graft was completed. The upper second molar was temporarily kept to allow the patient to wear a temporary bridge during the healing period following implant placement to maintain her chewing function on the left site.

Two implants were placed to restore this area with a 3-unit, implant-supported bridge. An implant preparation using a surgical guide was provided by the restorative dentist. 3 months following implant placement, the implants were uncovered and healing abutments were placed. Final restorations were fabricated and delivered by the restorative dentist. Note the beautiful restorations and healthy gum and bone tissue surrounding the implants.

Case Study 2

This 69 year-old male presented was referred to our specialist periodontist noting, “I know I need a lot of work. I don’t like my smile but more importantly I feel like my teeth are falling apart and am looking for a long term solution to improve both my looks and function.”

A comprehensive treatment plan developed by our periodontist and the referring prosthodontist for replacement of failing/hopeless teeth with dental implants. A total of 9 dental implants were placed by our surgeon.

  • 4 implants were placed in the maxilla (upper jaw) to be restored as single unit implant crowns: upper right first and second premolar
  • 5 implants were placed in the mandible (lower jaw) to be restored as a fixed dental bridge

Patient was seen 2 weeks following surgery and all sutures were removed. Patient noted minimal post-operative discomfort and healed uneventfully. After 3 months of healing, stage 2 surgery of all 9 implants was completed by our periodontist to allow for soft tissue development prior to being restored by the referring prosthodontist. 3 weeks following uncovery, the patient was placed in implant supported acrylic temporary restorations.

Note the dark spaces (“black triangles”) between his front teeth. The referring prosthodontist worked on re-contouring these temporaries until she was able to train the gums to fill in these voids for a much more aesthetic final outcome. After nearly a year of treatment, the full mouth rehabilitation was complete and the patient could not have been happier! This case illustrates how anyone is a candidate for implant therapy and shows how dramatically interdisciplinary dental treatment can change esthetics, function, and overall quality of life.

Case Study 3

A 67 year-old male presented with a failing tooth-supported bridge due to deep decay on lower right first premolar, necessitating extraction.  The existing tooth-supported bridge was sectioned, the lower right first premolar was extracted, and a socket graft was completed. Three months later, adequate bone volume was achieved and two implants were placed for an implant-supported bridge.

In this case, our periodontist was able to place the healing abutments (“healing caps”) on top of the implants the day of surgery, as the implants were very stable within the bone. Three months following implant placement the patient’s tissues appear healthy and the implants had healed. At this point,the patient was sent back to his referring dentist to fabricate an implant-supported bridge. The patient returned to see our periodontist for a routine recall appointment 6 months after his bridge was cemented by his restorative dentist. At this stage, the patient’s bone and gums were healthy and he was thrilled with his improved aesthetic, oral health, and chewing ability!

If you are looking for a solution for a missing tooth or teeth, dental implants are a great option. Call our dental office today and see if you are a candidate.

Replacing all teeth with a fixed denture.

Sometimes described as the “Ferrari of dental implant rehabilitation,” full arch implant supported restorations allow you to eat and function like having natural teeth.

These restorations are stable, strong, and do not need to be removed. They preserve your facial appearance and stabilize bone levels. The number of implants needed per arch to complete this rehabilitation is different for each patient, but traditionally 4-8 implants are needed in the upper jaw (as bone is less dense) and 4-6 in the lower jaw to support this type of restoration. At whole dental wellness, our specialist lead team will work with to rebuild your new smile from the foundation up.

Replacing all teeth with an implant-supported removable denture.

If all of your upper or lower teeth are missing, the use of dental implants to stabilize your upper or lower denture will help improve your chewing ability and quite honestly, your quality of life. Traditionally, the maximum force that can be generated with an upper and lower denture is only roughly 20% that of natural teeth. However, when supported by implants, your chewing ability will improve exponentially.

Complete lower dentures are typically fabricated for aesthetics more than function, but the addition of implants will help support and stabilize your denture, dramatically improving your chewing ability and comfort. Additionally, dental implants will prevent your bone from continuing to shrink, extending the lifetime of your denture. When teeth are replaced with conventional dentures rather than dental implants, a natural attrition of the jawbone occurs. This ongoing deterioration of the ridge can lead to ill-fitting dentures and sores over time. When this occurs, options to restore the denture fit are denture relines, denture rebase, or construction of a new denture. Additionally, placement of dental implants to facilitate an overdenture restoration will aid in minimizing future ridge resorption and improve denture stability.

Does your denture move and rock during chewing? Or fall down when you are talking or laughing? If so, we may recommend placing 2-4 implants to anchor your denture, improving its stability and comfort. Once the implants have healed within your bone, they are uncovered to allow for the placement of retentive abutments. The retentive abutments are designed to fit into the precision attachment within the denture, creating a secure fit. This will help stabilize your denture and will allow you to chew and speak with far less movement of your lower denture. Fully edentulous patients (“patients without any teeth”) can benefit from the placement of multiple implants connected to each other with a retentive bar. The implants are placed at appropriate distances from each other and the retentive bar is secured to the restoration (“the fixed denture”). The denture is designed with retentive clips that securely hold your denture in place. This will help stabilize your denture and will allow you to chew and speak with far less movement of your lower denture.

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21055 12 Mile Road, Roseville MI 48066