Missing Several Teeth
San Antonio Dental Office
Missing teeth are no fun!
Missing teeth mess with our nutrition. Without all our teeth, chewing on crunchy fruits and veggies is really hard. Depending on which teeth are missing, chewing steak or jerky, chomping on hard nuts or enjoying corn-on-the-cob might be impossible.
Missing teeth also mess with our smiles. Sadly, people with missing teeth usually smile less because they want to hide their missing teeth.
Finally, missing teeth mess with our facial bone. Without teeth, the bone dissolves. Bone loss not only weakens our face structure, but it also accelerates aging.
Have several missing teeth?
Embarrassed by your smile?
Tired of struggling to chew?
Missing teeth are not a life sentence
There are basically four ways to replace a group of several missing teeth. Each replacement method has pros and cons. These strengths and weaknesses impact how each option feels in the mouth. They also impact how the new teeth function, and the especially impact how the new teeth look. Keep reading to learn more.
Solution #1: Several Missing Teeth replaced with Individual Dental Implants
Without a doubt, dental implants are the ideal way to replace multiple missing teeth. Why? Because they look, feel and function like real teeth.
Missing Three Teeth (Actual Patient)
Individual Implants Replacing Several Teeth
Missing Teeth Replaced with Dental Implants (Actual Patient)
Here are some of the things our patients say they love about their implants:
“My new implants look so natural! They look like MY teeth!” – Patty
“My implants let me bite and chew like regular teeth. I can eat anything I want. I’m chewing steak again!” – Daniel
“I don’t have to worry about dental implants getting cavities! That’s a weight off my mind.” – Becky
“I love that implants stop bone loss. I don’t want my face to get that sunken, old lady look any sooner than it has to!” Patricia
“Having individual implant teeth makes keeping my teeth clean a breeze. Brush like normal. Brush like normal. Floss like normal. Done. No more fancy flossers! I had bridges before and they are a pain!” – Elizabeth
Don’t people ever complain about implants?
When people complain about implants, their complaints are usually related to the fact that implants cost more than other treatments. The same technology and materials that make implants so ideal also make them more expensive.
Fortunately, our team is great at finding solutions for patients who really want implants!
The Beginning: Placing the Implants (Actual Patient)
Mid-Treatment: Preparing the Implants by placing custom abutments for the New Teeth (Actual Patient)
The Finish: New Implant Teeth are Ready to Chew! (Actual Patient)
Dry mouth – we call it the “Tooth Killer.”
After all, it quickly ruins beautiful, healthy teeth in spite of careful brushing and flossing. How does it do so much damage? It disables the mouth’s washing machine. Saliva is our body’s mouthwash. Without it, junk simply sits on our teeth, hanging out and doing damage until we brush. Without saliva, the teeth also get dehydrated and dry out. Dry mouth leaves teeth dirty, dried out and decayed.
Fortunately, dry mouth is NOT an implant killer.
In fact, dental implants are fantastic for people with dry mouth because implants CAN’T decay! Implant teeth are made from titanium and aren’t bothered one bit by the tooth-rotting acid from mouth bacteria. When dry mouth is involved, trading decayed natural teeth for new implant teeth is like trading in a motorcycle for an armored car.
Solution #2: Several Missing Teeth replaced with An Implant-Anchored Bridge
Missing Several Front Teeth (Actual Patient)
New Front Teeth with an Implant Bridge (Actual Patient)
Implant Bridges Are Another Good Solution for Multiple Missing Teeth. Here are the Upsides and the Downsides.
Implant Bridges replacing multiple teeth: The Upsides
- They Don’t Hurt Healthy Teeth! Implant bridges are held in place by implants instead of using neighboring teeth. This design protects healthy neighboring teeth from unnecessary crowns.
- They’re Anti-Bone Loss (i.e. Anti-Aging) Implants hang on to the bone around them. This keeps more bone in the jaw and face, which keeps us looking younger longer than we would with a partial denture.
- They’re More Comfortable. Our patients say that implants feel like real teeth. No constant irritating pressure on the gums like with partials.
- Eat Anything! These implant bridges are strong and stable. Get the biting power of a horse without looking like one.
- You Never Clean These Teeth in a Cup. Taking your teeth out at night makes everyone feel old. Implant bridges stay in the mouth like teeth. Goodbye, No Teeth Nights. Hello, Handsome!
- Black Hole Be Gone. You can stop worrying about a black space showing up between your bridge and your gums. Implants slow bone loss under the bridge and keep it fitting and looking fantastic.
Implant Bridges replacing multiple teeth: The downsides
- Not the cheapest. Implant bridges use implants. This makes them more expensive than partial dentures.
- Not Magical. Implant bridges only stop bone loss in the area around the implants. Implants can’t stop bone loss in areas where there aren’t implants.
- Still Mean to Clean. ALL bridges – with implants or without – have to be cleaned underneath to protect the bridge and keep the gums safe from infection. This means special flossing tools and techniques.
Solution #3: Several Missing Teeth replaced with Conventional Bridge:
Conventional Bridges: The Pros
- Built in Cloaking Device: Bridges appear to fit into the gums just like natural teeth and they look natural for a long time.
- No Denture Cleaner: Bridges are don’t come out at night because they are fixed in place. In fact, most patients who pick bridges over partials like that bridges are fixed. Why is that important? Because fixed teeth like bridges don’t wiggle around. Not having to take teeth out at night also keeps people feeling younger.
- One Tooth or Several Teeth: Bridges are pretty versatile. They can replace several missing teeth just like they replace a single tooth.
- Yesterday’s Best is Still Good: Bridges used to be the best dentistry had to offer when a patient had multiple missing teeth. Although implants are now the gold standard, bridges still provide functional, beautiful teeth.
Conventional Bridges: The Cons
- Drilling Down the Neighbors: Bridges anchor to neighboring teeth. Therefore, this requires drilling down those neighboring teeth in order to attach the bridge. If those teeth already need crowns, it’s not a bad idea. But, if they’re healthy, then that’s not so great. Ideally, we leave healthy teeth alone.
- Food Trap: Bridges trap food between the gums and the bridge.
- Bone Loss Gets Ugly: As bone is lost in the jaw under the bridge, the bone and gums will slowly pull away from the bridge making the bridge obvious and unnatural looking.
- Higher Maintenance: Preventing gum infection under the bridge requires constant cleaning, which means having special floss and flossers, techniques and tools.
Solution #4: Several Missing Teeth replaced with Partial Dentures
Why People Choose Partial Dentures:
They’re Inexpensive: If you’re missing several teeth, a partial denture is the least expensive way to replace your many missing teeth and get chewing again.
In fact, if price is your biggest concern, a partial denture is your cheapest option.
Why People Complain about Partial Dentures:
- Partials don’t stop bone loss. Without a tooth root or implant, partials have no way of stopping bone loss. Bone loss eventually leads to fragile bone, wobbly teeth, discomfort and frustration.
- They Move When You Chew: It’s hard to eat chewy, crunchy and hard foods when your teeth are wobbly. Picture salad, steak and almond roca toffee. All of these foods are delicious but equally difficult to chew with a partial denture.
- Partials Make Gums Sore: Partials put the pressure of chewing on the gums. Eventually, this causes gum irritation, sores and pain.
- Partials Leave Marks: Partials stay put because of clasps that hook around your teeth. These clasps are usually made out of metal. In the long run, these clasps wear lines and weak spots in these teeth.
- Partials Sit in a Cup at Night: Partials get taken out each night. Generally, people complain that taking out their teeth every night makes them feel older and more fragile.
Does Taking Your Teeth Out Bother You?
Modern dentistry offers some very practical removable solutions. Sadly, many patients find themselves surprised by sudden feelings of aging or depression when they transition to removable teeth. No one likes those kids of surprises. We have found that our patients are the most satisfied with their treatment when they understand, ahead of time, their treatment risks as well as the benefits. If you’re considering a partial denture, carefully consider how taking your teeth out at night may make you feel before you make your final decision. To read more on about dentures as an option for replacing missing teeth, visit Colgate’s site.
Why Do Implants Cost More?
Everyone wants implants, but people understandably hate the fact that implants cost more than other options.
So why are implants more expensive than bridges, partials or dentures?
- More Planning than Putting a Man on the Moon
That might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. The first thing to remember about implants is that they are only successful with detailed planning. In fact, they require detailed planning at several phases of treatment.
For example, every surgery in our office is planned using a 3D CT Scan that can see inside your jaw and skull. Not surprisingly, these scanning machines cost as much as a nice house. However, it’s impossible to perform safe implant surgeries without one.
- More Training than a Marathon
Obviously, implant placement is a delicate micro-surgery. Getting a great outcome depends on skill and technique as well as hands-on experience. Do you want to be someone’s guinea pig? Surely not! Learning to perform implant surgeries successfully requires advanced implant training at specialized facilities.
- More Technology than a Computer
When doing something as complex as placing an implant, an “educated guess” isn’t good enough. Successful implant placement not only requires the latest training, but it also requires using the latest advanced biotechnology.
- Implants Are Detailed Like Computer Chips: Did you know that the molecules on the surface of a dental implant can be designed in a special molecular pattern? The microscopic surface design of implants plays a big role in how well the bone grabs onto the implant. In fact, the more bio-friendly the surface molecules, the healthier the bone after surgery.
- Red Light. Green Light. We only use implant drills that are specialized with “stops.” Why is that important? Because “stops” prevent implants from going too deep during surgery. The “stops” work together with our surgical guides to protect the nerves in the jaw.
- To Hit A Tiny Target, You Need High Tech Guidance. Thanks to our custom surgical guides, we can place implants with unprecedented precision. Surgical guides “guide” implants specifically into their targeted positions with a precision of fractions of millimeters.
- “Magic Shield” Mouth Guards: Ok, so our surgical guides aren’t actually magic… or shields. Furthermore, they they only look like mouth guards. However, these guides do incredible things. As mentioned above, Our surgical guides guide implants into their exact planned position during surgery. This accuracy ensures patient safety and prevents damage to nerves, bone and teeth. Not all dentists use surgical guides because they’re expensive and cut into profits. However, these “magical” guides also cut risks to our patients. To us, protecting our patients is what matters.
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Whether you have teeth or not, you deserve a smile you can be proud of!
A beautiful smile changes how you look. It also changes how you live. Imagine laughing and eating freely with friends again! If you want to smile with confidence, we can help. Take the first step today. Schedule your consultation!