Losing teeth is a common occurrence resulting from accidents, poor dental hygiene or regular wear. In Quebec, up to one million baby boomers have lost all of their teeth. However, there are several effective solutions to help patients suffering from this major health problem recover durable, comfortable dentition.
Missing teeth need to be replaced by artificial teeth to avoid alignment, malocclusion and chewing problems. In addition, missing teeth cause the jawbone to slowly lose density.
There are many options for replacing missing teeth: bridges, partial dentures, full dentures, etc. When possible, dental implants are the ideal solution because they can best reproduce the appearance and comfort of natural teeth.
Implants help stabilize prostheses, rendering them more comfortable, solid and functional for improved speech and chewing.
What is an implant?
An implant is a biocompatible titanium screw inserted into the jawbone to replace a root. It can support an artificial tooth (crown), several teeth (bridge) or all teeth (full dentures). The prostheses can be permanent or removable.
Permanent implant-supported prostheses:
Permanent prostheses cannot be removed by the patient, as they are permanently anchored to the dental implants. Only your dentist can remove them. Depending on how many teeth need to be replaced, an implant can support different types of permanent prostheses:
An artificial tooth (or crown) is secured to the implant, leaving adjacent teeth intact. The artificial tooth looks and functions just like a natural tooth.
An implant-supported permanent bridge replaces several missing teeth. It is custom-made and permanently secured to two dental implants. With this option, the bridge doesn’t need to be attached to adjoining teeth, which would require removing a layer of tooth enamel.
If your teeth are healthy and your situation allows for it, your dentist may suggest an implant-supported prosthesis, which maintains your natural teeth as much as possible.
Full dentures can also be secured to implants, making them very stable. This option also eliminates pain caused by dentures rubbing on gums, as well as chewing and speech problems. With implants, full dentures can be stable and comfortable.
The number of implants you need depends on specific criteria. For full dentures, four implants are usually enough.
This type of prosthesis is permanent and can only be removed by a dentist. Because full dentures stay in your mouth day and night, they feel like natural teeth. This solution is great for helping patients maintain good self-esteem.