Tooth Replacements Services:
There are two basic methods to replace teeth:
With fixed bridgework, the teeth surrounding a missing tooth are prepared for crowns and three (or more) crowns are soldered together and cemented over these teeth. The process takes about two weeks and the patient often wears plastic temporary crowns while the laboratory custom fabricates the bridgework. This procedure does not require surgery.
Implants are surgical fixtures that are placed directly into the jaw bone to "mimic" the root of the tooth that has been lost. After healing, (typically 4-6 months after placement) the new teeth are glued or screwed onto the new roots. These often feel the most like natural teeth but high cost and extended treatment times have to be weighed into any treatment decisions. Additionally, not all patients are candidates for this proceedure. Such factors as general health and bone quality must also be considered. Implants can also be used to stabilize removable teeth in cases where bone loss has left the patient with little ridge support (see below).
Partials and Dentures:
Dentures and Partials are appliances that are used to replace multiple missing teeth in either the upper or lower jaw. Although functional, they feel least like "natural teeth". Implants can be used at times to "stabilize" a full denture if existing retention of a plate is less than desired and the plate fits as well as possible on the bony ridge.