Did you know that 69% of adults age 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth? And, by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth. That is approximately 20 million US citizens with no teeth, and more than 100 million people will some missing teeth. Every year, about 80 million teeth are removed, most of which could have been saved with early intervention and treatment of the underlying cause (decay or gum disease).

What happens when a tooth is lost? There are biological, emotional, and physical costs associated with losing teeth. Firstly, as soon as a tooth is lost, the body begins to break down the bone in the area, leading to a larger area of bone loss that can affect adjacent teeth. Your other teeth in the area will also begin to shift over to close the space. The area can potentially become somewhere food get trapped, possibly causing teeth next door to begin to decay as well. In addition, the additional bite force on  the adjacent teeth can cause the bone around the teeth to break down and teeth themselves to loosen. There are also emotional costs – a smile is one of your most important assets both in your career and in your personal life. Physically, being unable to chew food properly can lead to decreased sensation of fullness, weight gain, and lack of appropriate nutrition leading to a host of other consequences.

Here at Hub Family Dental, we offer 3 options for replacement of missing teeth: implants, bridges, and removable dentures.



Dental implants replace your tooth from crown to root, and are designed to last a lifetime

Dental implants have been around for the last 30+ years with a 98% success rate. They preserve your bone, preserve the teeth around the missing space, and function just like all of your other teeth. They are made of a titanium core with a porcelain crown. The surgery is usually less than an hour long, and you can have teeth that will look, function, and feel like your own for a lifetime. There is less adjustment involved since everything is precision fabricated to fit together. They rarely need to be replaced when done correctly. In addition, they do not ride on gums, making them much more comfortable and less likely to cause long term irritation of the soft tissue.

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Replacing One Tooth

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Replacing Multiple Teeth

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Replacing All Teeth

Fixed bridges are another option for replacement of one or a few teeth

Fixed bridges rest on teeth on either side of the space to replace the missing tooth or teeth. They are usually made of porcelain, sometimes with a metal substructure. They can look very natural and are a good option in the case of compromised adjacent teeth. They do not maintain your bone, and they can potentially cause damage if the teeth adjacent to the space are healthy. Bridges can be used to replace missing soft tissue also with the use of pink porcelain to match the gums.

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Removable dentures are economical, but come with many disadvantages

Removable dentures (whether full or partial) are the most economical option for replacement of one or all teeth and the surrounding gums and bone, but they can be bulky and difficult to get used to. They are made of plastic in the case of full dentures, and plastic one a metal subtructure in the case of partials. They rest on the gums, causing the possibility of irritation or sores, and they require multiple appointments both for fabrication and adjustment. In addition, they do not preserve the bone in your mouth and will need to be refitted periodically as your bone resorbs (shrinks down) over time. They need to be taken out and cleaned every time you eat, as well as every night.

Partial dentures can possibly cause increased tooth mobility since they clasp onto adjacent teeth, and the metal clasps are occasionally visible when you smile. Full dentures depend on suction from the patient’s saliva as well as the anatomy of the bone, which can be unfavorable if you have been missing teeth for many years or if you are taking multiple medications. In addition, full dentures have been shown to recapture only about 10% of the chewing efficiency of natural teeth, which can affect your nutrition and quality of life long term.

There is an option to place implants with locator attachments to “snap in” the lower denture, which can greatly increase chewing efficiency and retention of the denture. This is a great “in between” option that is still economical but achieves an improved quality of life.

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