Is there a gap in your smile that’s making it harder for you to eat, speak and laugh like you used to? Dental implants in La Mesa are often a great option for replacing missing teeth in a way that keeps the mouth and jawbone healthy and strong. But what if more than one tooth is gone? How many implants will you need? The answer to that depends on what type of dental prosthesis you get; here are 3 restorations that can be supported by implants so that you can get back to enjoying life to the fullest.
1. Dental Bridges
If there are two, three or more missing teeth in a row in your mouth, you can replace them all at once with a dental bridge. Traditional bridges are supported by the natural teeth next to the gap. Unfortunately, this usually means that these teeth are weakened and more vulnerable to decay. Instead, your bridge can be attached to two implant posts inserted into the jaw. This way, you can get new teeth while leaving your old ones alone. Additionally, implants will provide much better chewing power and allow you to continue eating all of the foods you love.
2. Full Dentures
Of course, if all or most of your teeth are missing, dentures are the solution that immediately comes to mind. A full arch of teeth can be supported on as few as four implants (although some patients might need more).
Traditional dentures can be life-changing, but because they rest on the gums, they won’t stop the bone loss in the jaw that occurs when teeth are missing. This means that they’ll become ill-fitting over time and might slip at embarrassing times while your eating or talking. Implant-retained dentures, on the other hand, will prevent jawbone deterioration and are much more secure in your mouth. You can speak with confidence and chew without worry. And of course, since your dentures will be fixed in your mouth, you won’t ever have to worry about losing them!
3. Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are an option when there are a few gaps throughout your mouth while you still have plenty of natural teeth. Unlike bridges, they can replace multiple teeth that aren’t necessarily adjacent. They’re usually removable and held in place by a metal clasp, but they can also be supported by dental implants. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy a stronger, healthier smile!
Remember that while dental implants can support many different forms of tooth replacement, they’re not suitable for all patients. If you smoke, have uncontrolled diabetes or suffer from gum disease, you may need to have other treatments done before you can receive dental implants. Talk with your dentist and figure out the best way you can fill the space left by your pearly whites!
About the Author
Dr. Peter F. Johnson was in the U.S. Naval Dental Corps and attained the rank of Captain. He is a board-certified prosthodontist, meaning he’s well-experienced in using dental implants, bridges and dentures to repair and restore his patients’ smiles. To schedule an appointment at his private practice, visit his website or call (619) 463-3737.