People with missing teeth are becoming less common than 40-50 years ago. People assumed that eventually they would lose all their teeth and have dentures. Some of our patients still feel this way and we try to educate them, that with regular dental care and maintenance this should not be the case. Still, some are going to lose teeth for one reason or another. Could be periodontal disease, which causes bone loss and the teeth lose bone support, eventually becoming loose and require extraction. Another reason is a tooth is unable to be restored, due to extensive decay. Some teeth fracture due to an accident or biting down on a hard object, requiring extraction of the tooth.
Replacement of missing teeth can be accomplished by implants, bridges, partial dentures or full dentures.
When all teeth are missing there are options of implants and a fixed bridge attached by screws to the implants. Or an implant can be placed in each area where there was originally a tooth root and individual crowns can be placed on these implants, this can be very expensive. A less costly treatment plan is a full denture, which is attached to 4-6 implants by attachments, called locator attachments. These attachments are screwed into the implant and have a male fitting, and a housing is placed in the denture with a female fitting. Usually 4 of these are needed on the mandibular, lower jaw, and 6 on the maxillary, upper jaw. If it is not financially affordable, 2 implants may be able to hold the mandibular denture in place to keep the denture from rising, but it will still have some movement.
The most common treatment in our office for denture patients is a full conventional maxillary denture and an implant retained mandibular denture. We can usually get maxillary dentures to fit well without implants. The mandibular dentures usually move too much without something to secure it in place. If you are having trouble with ill fitting dentures we may be able to help. Give us a call at Gulf Coast Dental for a consultation.