Cosmetic Dentistry: Solutions to Missing Teeth

A smile someone is proud of, they can’t help but show off. Everything it’s in pictures or just the daily demeanor, people with healthy, straight smile can’t help but display it. But when an individual loses a tooth, feeling self-conscience is almost…

A smile someone is proud of, they can’t help but show off. Everything it’s in pictures or just the daily demeanor, people with healthy, straight smile can’t help but display it. But when an individual loses a tooth, feeling self-conscience is almost always a side effect. Tooth loss can happen due to genetics, poor oral hygiene, and injury. No matter how the loss occurs, one thing is for sure, most would like to restore the look of their smile.

Cosmetic dentistry options have come a long way for restorative services to patients who have lost one or even multiple teeth. Gone are the days, of only having dentures as a way to solve the problem. Advances in the field of dentistry over the last few decades have been phenomenal for those who desire a better, more secure, more long-lasting solution for teeth replacement. Cosmetic dentistry procedures for tooth replacements aren’t recommended for children whose jaw bone isn’t fully developed.

Dental implants have quickly grown in popularity as the most natural-looking way to fill gaps in the smile. However, many people do still choose to have dentures. One of the primary reason: price. While the cost to have implants is higher than dentures, the results are amazing. Let’s look at the two main ways dentists can restore smiles.

Dental implants explained

Dental implants are a little more complicated than most realize. There are two main dental implant types those that go directly into the jaw bone, Endosteal, or those that go underneath the gum and rest above the bone, Subperiosteal. Most individuals who get dental implants will receive endosteal.

The implant consists of three main parts, the anchor, abutment, and the crown (the part that looks like a natural tooth). The anchor is a screw that is inserted directly into the jawbone. It will act similar to a tooth root. Your dentist will explain the length of time you will need to wait before a crown can be applied.

Osseointegration, or the process to which the bone and anchor fuse, takes time. In fact, this part of the dental implant process can take up to six months for full healing. It is essential to the bone healing process that enough time is given for the anchor to fuse with the bone. This will make the implant more stable and can help prevent further bone deterioration.

Dental implants explained

Depending on the condition of a person’s bone health, a graft may be required to strengthen the area for an implant to secure to. Your dentist will do several X-rays before beginning any treatment to determine the quality of your jaw bone to ensure it’s ready to accept the anchor. The process of getting implants can be done in a single day. During the procedure, your dentist will drill into the jaw bone to insert the screw. Your dentist will then close up the incision and your healing time begins.

After the healing process is completed, your dentist will reopen the area to attach an abutment to the screw and fit the crown. Sometimes bridges or partial dentures can be connected to the screws for situations when multiple teeth are missing. Crafting a crown from porcelain or ceramic that looks natural takes time. Your dentist will look at your surrounding teeth to match the right shape to make it look as natural as possible.

Tate Eble, a dentist in Franklin TN has said, “Dental implants are virtually unnoticeable and look and feel like natural teeth. Those patients that have received dental implants couldn’t be happier with the results. For most, they are pleased to have regained function along with a beautiful smile.”

Once your implant is fully healed, and the crown is placed, you only need to care for it as your regular teeth. Brushing and flossing habits should remain the same to keep the area clean, but other than that you won’t have to do anything extra. Individuals who have gotten implants rejoice at being able to not worry about their placement or slippage the way dentures do, and they can once again eat the foods they haven’t been able to for some time.

What about dentures?

Dentures are the most cost-effective means for solving the problem of missing teeth. Dentures can be full or partial depending on a person’s need. They are not a permanent solution and will need to be replaced roughly every ten years. For those that are nervous about implant surgery or have medical reasons why implants aren’t an option, dentures are a great way to improve the appearance of a smile that has missing teeth.

What about dentures?

Dentures are removable, and some find them more accessible to clean. However, while removability is positive, they also have the potential for slipping out of place, making eating tougher foods more challenging. Dentures don’t give the same appearance as dental implants, but they still serve the function of filling spaces where individuals have missing teeth.

Dealing with having a missing tooth or teeth can invoke many feelings, one of them being embarrassed. Consider seeing your dentist for recommendations as to which option will work best for your situation.

Stephen Nozaki, DDS, MPH, DIDIA

Dr. Stephen Nozaki is the owner and lead dentist at Image Dental in Stockton. He is a dedicated professional born and raised in California's Central Valley. With a commitment to his community, he brings advanced dental techniques learned from extensive education and continuous training from around the world. A third-generation Japanese American, Dr. Nozaki has a rich background that includes international living and a deep passion for both dentistry and outdoor activities. His focus in dentistry aligns with his passion for cosmetics and dental implants.