• FULL DENTURES - Complete dentures offer a solution to the patient who does not have any natural teeth.  Complete dentures can be made to fit directly over the patient's existing gingival architecture or are secondarily retained by implants.  Either way, a complete denture is an appliance in which all teeth of that particular arch are contained in one removable fixture.


REMOVABLE APPLIANCES

  • PARTIAL DENTURES - Partial dentures replace any combination of missing teeth with an appliance made of acrylic or acrylic and metal.  Partial dentures rely on specifically designed clasps and rests that anchor to remaining teeth to hold the appliance in.  These appliances can be used as a permanent treatment to tooth replacement but are sometimes used as a quick alternative to restore a dentition while working towards a fixed solution. 


Teeth can be lost or missing for many reasons. Some people never develop a full set of teeth. Early detection of this in a young patient can sometimes be solved orthodontically by moving other teeth into the missing tooth's place. Sometimes teeth are too badly infected (decayed) that not enough tooth structure is left to restore predictably. Other times the infection is too deeply seeded in the supporting tissues of the tooth (either due to a carious lesion or periodontal disease) that the whole tooth becomes loose and unable to be retained. In these cases, extraction is needed as a treatment of the infection. Other times, teeth are lost due to injury. The tooth could be fractured in a way that is not restorable. Sometimes the tooth can be knocked out completely (avulsed). With proper immediate care of the avulsed tooth, it can sometimes be re-implanted into the socket and saved.

TOOTH REPLACEMENT


FIXED APPLIANCES

  • BRIDGES - Bridges utilize neighboring teeth to support a missing tooth or teeth. There are too many different types of bridges to present a complete list here. Suffice it to say that each bridge is unique and custom made to fit specifically in one patient's mouth. They range from more conservative tooth preparation (relying on bonding principles) to more predictable mechanical retention of neighboring teeth.


  • IMPLANTS - Implants allow the replacement of missing teeth without compromising other teeth in the mouth. Implants are placed into the bone to create an artificial root, on which a new tooth can be built. Implants are engineered to resist the normal occlusal forces placed on teeth and have a proven track record of success. Implants can be used to replace individual teeth, can be used in series to hold multiple teeth (bridge), or used as retentive fixtures to help hold in a removable appliance (denture).


We have many ways to replace missing teeth. They can be classified into two basic categories: fixed appliances (something that stays in the mouth) or removable appliances.