Missing Teeth... the problems & their solutions
Dr. Prasanth Pillai MDS, FIBOMS, FICOI, FISOI
Dental Specialist - Oro-Maxillofacial Surgeon & Implantologist
Clinical Master in Immediate Loading, IF, Germany
One of the greatest myths of the aging process is that tooth loss is inevitable — that losing teeth in old age is a fact of life and can rarely be avoided. The real fact is - tooth loss does not occur as a result of aging, but because of various conditions such as dental decay and / or gum diseases. Left untreated, these conditions will certainly cause loss of teeth in addition to influencing the overall health status of individuals. Therefore, the most important aspect of dental care is to maintain excellent oral health and hygiene.
If teeth are lost due to various reasons, the equilibrium in the chewing mechanisms is lost, in addition to initiation of several problems affecting the remaining teeth, gums and the jaw joints. In the long run, missing teeth contribute to loss of jaw bone contours, collapse of the cheeks and face (facial collapse) and the aged look. Lack of teeth compromise chewing patterns, food intake and proper nutrition, in addition to accelerating the aging process. Therefore, it is extremely important to have missing teeth replaced to avoid a multitude of problems.
REPLACEMENT OF MISSING TEETH
Removable dentures have been the mainstay in replacement of missing teeth for decades. Removable dentures may be complete (full) dentures or partial dentures depending on the extent of tooth loss.
However, dentures have several limitations. People suffer needlessly with wobbly and painful dentures. The disadvantages of removable dentures include:
* Inability to provide you the natural feel
* Not as effective & comfortable as fixed artificial teeth alternatives
* Altered taste & temperature sensation while having food
* Less hygienic
* Wears out faster & therefore requires periodic replacement
* Clasps, if present, may turn out unfavorable & problematic
* Bad breath using dentures - very common
* Affects adjacent teeth - can cause unfavorable movements as well as decay
* Removable dentures are also called "gum-strippers" as they tend to abrade the gums as well as cause gingival recession.
Having fixed teeth with the help of dental bridgework & / or implants is certainly better than having removable dentures. It isn’t as expensive as you think it is. Nor does it involve too many tedious and painful procedures stretched over a period of months. We are able to offer excellent and super-fast results, within a matter of a few days. Let’s help you kiss goodbye to your dentures... for-ever!
Fixed Artificial Teeth
Advantages of fixed teeth:
• Natural feel of teeth - functionally, cosmetically as well as psychologically.
• Chewing efficiency becomes comparable to that of natural teeth in the mouth. Taste and temperature sensations during food intake turns normal and patient starts enjoying food in its real flavors
• Dental Implants which are used to anchor the fixed artificial teeth into the mouth help prevent jaw bone loss and thereby help maintain the facial contours, thereby preventing "facial collapse" and the aged look.
• Considerably reduces problems like bleeding gums, denture sores, mouth ulcers and bad breath
• Improves interpersonal relations including sexual relations in healthy aged couples. Patient feels younger and turns more socially acceptable. They are able to be actively involved in sporting activities, if they are healthy to do so.
Revolutionary dental treatment options employing a judicious mix of crowns, bridges and dental implants have come to provide a way to solve the issues of painful, loose fitting dentures. Dental implants are the next best thing to your original natural teeth. With the introduction of the advanced “Immediate Loading” strategies, the dental implantologist is able to provide fixed teeth in a matter of a few hours!
Regular Dental Crown & Bridgework
A bridge is fabricated by reducing the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth by a preparation pattern determined by the location of the teeth and by the material from which the bridge is fabricated. In other words, the abutment teeth (teeth next to the gap created by the missing teeth) are reduced in size to accommodate the material to be used to restore the size and shape of the original teeth in a correct alignment and contact with the opposing teeth. It is literally a bridge as the gap is bridged by taking support from the adjacent teeth. Thus a three-unit bridge is three crowns joined together with the middle crown being a false tooth, with the side crowns cemented or bonded to the adjacent natural teeth.
The disadvantages of conventional dental bridges are:
1. Destructive - If the tooth (beside the gap which is to be filled with the tooth) is a natural and healthy tooth, the preparation is quite damaging. In order to make space for the bridge, the teeth adjacent to the gap must be filed down.
2. Damaged nerves - When a tooth is prepared for a full crown, alone or as part of a bridge, 1-15% lose vitality (i.e. the nerve dies) and will require root canal treatment in the future. That is of course assuming a root canal has not already been carried out.
3. Difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene: Over a period of time, food entrapment can occur in the bridged area leading to bad breath and a host of other problems
4. The teeth which have been prepared for providing support to the bridgework turn prone to dental caries. Decayed cavities can develop on the tooth surfaces which tend to get exposed into the mouth, due to gingival recession which happens in relation to the teeth over a period of time.
Implant supported crowns and bridges
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Dental implants are artificial roots (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by the dental implantologist. Teeth which are attached to implants can be made very natural looking.
Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years. On occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Traditional implants... also known as conventional implants, most often need minimum wait period of 3 months after the implant(s) have been placed, before the tooth crown is fixed on the implant.
The introduction of Strategic Implantology, by Prof Stefan Ihde (Germany) has revolutionized the field of implantology by helping provide fixed teeth to patients without teeth within a matter of 3 days of the implant procedure. The advantage with the Strategic Implantology techniques is that they work very well even in situations where there is little or even no bone available for implantation. The strategic implantology techniques are a boon to smokers and diabetic patients too as these implants are uniquely designed to resist the unfavorable sequence of events which are likely to occur in such compromised patients.
- Dr Prasanth Pillai, MDS, FIBOMS, FISOI, FICOI
Clinical Master of Immediate Loading Implantology, International Implant Foundation, Germany.
For more info, please visit: www.SmileCentre.in