Treatment Options for Multiple Missing Teeth
When multiple teeth are missing, teeth may be replaced with either traditional fixed bridgework supported on the remaining teeth, or with a removable partial denture that is held in placed by claps on the remaining teeth, or with implant restorations.
The benefits of implants in the case of missing multiple teeth are ever greater than those in the single tooth replacement scenario. The traditional removable partial denture tends to accelerate bone loss because of undue pressure on the gum tissue. In addition, these prostheses are hooked to the remaining teeth with metal or plastic clasps that exert excessive loads on the teeth causing accelerated loosening and tooth decay. When surveyed, many patients with partial dentures show that their partials are generally uncomfortable. They generally express overall dissatisfaction with their partial denture wearing experience and daily quality of life activities such as eating, speaking, and being intimate with their partners.
Replacing multiple missing teeth can be accomplished through multiple single-tooth implant restorations as described in the single tooth replacement, or with implant bridges where two or more implants can replace three or more teeth. Implant bridges enable us to avoid the need to shave down the adjacent teeth and fabrication of long span bridges supported by natural teeth. They do not require an implant for every missing tooth. The space, gum tissue and underlying bone must be appropriate to place the dental implants. When you schedule your FREE CONSULTATION, we can determine if you are a suitable candidate for implant bridges to replace your missing teeth.
An implant bridge is not susceptible to cavities but may develop complications if oral hygiene is not maintained. This implant restoration should be routinely evaluated – the time interval dependent upon the conditions of the remaining natural teeth and the implant bridge. Restorations using porcelain may be susceptible to a low incidence of porcelain fracture. Patients with large functional forces, including bruxism (tooth grinding), may require more implants to withstand the extra functional demands.
Another option to replace multiple missing teeth is the restoration with implant-assisted removable partial dentures (IRPD). Instead of making a partial denture that sits on the gum tissue and hook on the teeth, these partials rely on a few implants placed in strategic positions which help make the removable partial denture more secure. The addition of the implants helps to eliminate unsightly clasps, reduces the display of metal parts, and increases the security of the denture as it is held in place.
There are many advantages of replacing multiple missing teeth with implant restorations as opposed to the traditional methods.
- They look feel and function like natural teeth
- They are much more comfortable and stable than partial dentures
- Natural biting and chewing capacity is restored
- They virtually stop the bone resorption process (deterioration)
- The integrity of the facial structures is maintained
- Adjacent natural teeth are not compromised (ground down into peg shapes or loosened)
Every case is different, and some of these steps can be combined when conditions permit.