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ADULT TOOTH LOSS: WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Well, the saddest truth is that not many folks live a lifetime having all the 32 teeth checked in place. But with the advancement of not only science or technology, rather the huge advancement to sustaining an aesthetic look has become a norm in the society. So, it’s a no brainer when there are ways and methods that one can look out for when the ‘missing tooth’ crisis arises.

Also, not to only shine it on a vain light, but adults losing teeth also have major drawbacks like the abnormal retention of the face shape, jaw weakening, and alteration in the chewing pattern. Since, the mouth is the first organ of the digestive system, any tooth defect or the void of it will only understandably lead to health deprivation and not just the looks.

Advances in the field of dentistry prosthetics now provide options to either fill the spaces with more functional and better-looking implants and bridges.

Suffice to say that dentistry hygiene and its maintenance are seen to be an essential part of a complete health care flow.

Some of the options that adults can opt for are briefly given in the following article-

BRIDGES

People with several teeth missing can go for the bridges which are basically artificial teeth that are attached to a metal frame. This frame is supported by cementing them on healthy teeth or on implants that are covered by crowns. The main advantage of this type of treatment is that it functions as well as feels like the real teeth.

Some of the variations of this bridge treatment are fixed by gluing the strips of metal or ceramic to the back portion of the other nearby teeth. This method is also mainly used when a single tooth needs to be replaced in the front of the mouth, which usually an implant is not possible or convenient due to the lack of space. Other types of materials used for dental bridges are precious metal alloys, porcelain, gold or a combination of all these material types.

As a permanent treatment solution, the teeth can be brushed and even flossed making the dental bridges very easy to maintain on a daily basis.

Although getting a bridge treatment is less time consuming than getting a dental implant, the treatment requires many consultations and follow-up visits. The visits include for the planning stages like imaging the mouth, acquiring the impressions, making for the crown- supporting teeth, placing temporary bridge and then for placing the permanent bridge.

IMPLANTS

The use of implants is mostly preferred for single tooth replacements. When implants are placed, it requires a careful assessment of the bone density of the tooth on which the implant is going to be supported too.

For this assessment, dentists require a CT image of the tooth to visualize the density and the shape of the bony tooth and then acquire an impression of it. For patients with an adequate jawbone, dentists might even make models of the jaw to use it as stimulation for placing the implant before the actual procedure.

In the scenario of the jawbone not being adequate, then they opt for bone augmentation, which is a bone-like material that is used in the place of the actual tooth for the surgery. The downside of bone augmentation is that it might take longer waiting periods, probably for some months since the augmented bone will need to heal properly before the implants are fixed.

Once it is healed, then the next step in the treatment is the placement of a titanium screw. This serves as the purpose of a tooth root in the patient’s jaw. The titanium screw is fitted in the patients’ gum, having the appearance of a small stud. The jawbone, for the next several weeks, will grow around the screw and tighten it firmly in place after which there is complete healing of the gums.

The last step of the treatment is the removal of the screw cap and the placement of a titanium post or abutment is done to make sure that the implant is going to be firmly placed. To match the implant with the surrounding teeth, a porcelain crown that matches with the rest will be screwed or cemented onto the abutment.

The dental implant may be a very expensive method in the market, but the pros to choosing this treatment plan saves much more in the long run. Apart from giving a more realistic aesthetic look, unlike the dental bridges, dental implant procedure avoids the grinding of a healthy tooth and in turn, keeps the gum tissues and the jawbone healthier.

DENTURES

Dentures which many of the people may not be aware of were used for centuries as a replacement for a missing tooth or permanent tooth loss. Today in the market, opting for denture treatment is more cost-effective compared to the above treatment plans.

Patients can acquire dentures that are custom made and fitted either with porcelain or plastic. There is even an option for a complete or partial denture treatment, of which the former is much expensive. Although, bearing in mind that both the partial and complete denture treatments require a lot of clinic visits and consultation.

The denture treatment process starts with a consultation, extraction of the tooth, gum surgery including other essential oral restorative care which is provided based on the cause of the tooth loss. Generally, the denture treatment starts only after the patient has received complete dental care. The treatment includes the making of tooth molds and then placing the dentures. Dentures can also be removable, for both partial and complete denture treatment.

FLIPPER TOOTH REPLACEMENT

This type of tooth replacement is sort of a partial denture treatment but is a temporary solution. It can be used for the restoration of either one or multiple tooth loss. The main purpose of the flipper tooth replacement is that it can fill any gaps between the teeth. This option is taken until a permanent solution for complete dental treatment care can be taken.

It is much cheaper than other types of dental treatment and is also easier and more comfortable to wear since it is lightweight, although, it can get bulky and uncomfortable at the end of the day. Flipper tooth temporary treatment is ideally best for patients that have to wait for the completion of dental implant treatment or just want to weigh on getting a permanent solution plan.

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