225 E. Michigan St. | Lobby Level | Milwaukee, WI 53202

paris dentistry

Tooth Replacement

Solutions for Missing Teeth

The problem of broken down or missing teeth can be easily remedied in most cases. However, ignoring these dental problems may cause additional tooth and bone loss which can lead to more expensive treatments. That is why it is better to take care of minor problems right away, before they get bigger and more expensive to repair.

Gaps between teeth can occur naturally or when teeth have been lost. A gap between the front two teeth is natural for some; many choose to have it closed for cosmetic reasons although it poses no harm to oral health. People often live with spaces between their back teeth for years because they do not cause a cosmetic problem. However, these spaces can lead to dental problems.

Nature’s Balancing Act

When spaces are present due to missing teeth, movement will occur. If left untreated, other teeth will drift and tip into unoccupied areas. Teeth also migrate into spaces when opposing teeth are missing. To keep all your permanent teeth functioning and in their correct position, you need to replace missing teeth to maintain long term oral health.

The Effects of Missing Teeth

Your teeth are mutually dependent on each other to maintain their natural position in your mouth. This positioning helps you chew while distributing your biting forces.

When you lose a tooth, the remaining teeth will move into the open space. If left untreated, more complex dental treatment may be needed to restore your normal dental health.

A bridge can be used to replace missing teeth and restore dental health. Teeth on both sides of the space are prepared and a bridge is permanently cemented or bonded into place.

Dental implants are becoming more popular as a method used to replace missing teeth. An implant replaces the root of a missing tooth so that a crown can be attached to it.

Dental Implants

If you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable or don’t want to have good tooth structure removed to make a bridge, talk to Dr. Paris to see if dental implants are an option for you.

Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.

Most patients find that a dental implant is secure, stable and a good replacement for their own tooth. There are generally three phases to getting an implant:

  • First, the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone by an oral surgeon. Dr. Paris partners with another dental specialist on this work. It all depends on what work you need done. Just talk to us about your case. We might recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.
  • Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.
  • Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, we may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.)
  • If you are interested in dental implants, it’s a good idea to discuss it carefully with Dr. Paris first. If you are in good general health this treatment may be an option for you. In fact, your health is more of a factor than your age. You may be medically evaluated by a physician before any implant surgery is scheduled.
  • Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after surgery. Patients with these issues may not be good candidates for implants. Using tobacco can also slow healing.

Read this New York Times article on Dental Implants.

Bridge (Fixed Partial Denture)

Bridges are a natural-looking replacement option for missing teeth. Bridges can be supported by adjacent teeth, by implants, or by a combination of both. The benefits of bridges are that they can fill most gaps, they last a long time with proper care, and they look natural. Generally bridges can be fabricated in two visits to Dr. Paris.

Removable Partial Denture

Removable partial dentures provide a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth. It is an option for patients who want to replace teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons, and who cannot have a bridge for any number of reasons (such as a lack of teeth to support bridge). Removable partial dentures have metal or plastic clasps that clip onto supportive teeth, making it more stable. In order to maintain your healthy gum tissue, partials need to be removed at night.