Dental implants aren’t just for a single missing tooth. They are also the ideal solution for someone with missing several teeth, especially in a row. With the loss of multiple teeth, it is crucial to replace the missing teeth in order to prevent bone deterioration and facial structure collapse.
Dental implants are now considered the standard of care for those missing several teeth. Unfortunately, most dentists are not trained in the placement of dental implants. So the most commonly used solution is a fixed dental bridge (if there are surrounding healthy teeth) or a removable partial (mini-denture) that is held in place by wire clasps that wrap around healthy teeth.
A dental bridge requires filing down the two surrounding healthy teeth so that they can act as anchors for the artificial teeth that are then cemented onto those two surrounding teeth. The damage to the surrounding teeth is permanent.
Further, statistics reveal that these damaged teeth eventually fail due to the stresses placed on them by the bridge. The result is the eventual loss of those teeth and an even longer bridge with an even shorter life span. A removable partial is unstable, uncomfortable and also places wear and stress on remaining healthy teeth.
When a patient is missing several consecutive teeth, we will typically use an implant anchored dental bridge. Multiple dental implants offer a vastly superior solution because they restore the lost roots, probably using fewer implants than you think. It is commonly not necessary to use an implant to replace each tooth. Often three or more teeth can be replaced with a dental bridge that is restored by only two implants that are surgically placed in the jaw bone. On each end of the bridge are the dental crowns that will be secured to the implants. The bridge will be designed to look and feel like natural teeth. This type of dental restoration does not require healthy teeth to be prepared or reduced.
When restoring multiple missing teeth, two or more dental implants are placed. The patient then wears a temporary removable appliance known as an Essix aligner, which is invisible like an Invisalign aligner and acts as replacement teeth during the healing period. These maintain a good cosmetic appearance, typically lasting from four to six months, during which the implants bond securely to the bone.
Once the implant has integrated with the bone, the fixed replacement teeth can be attached and the procedure is complete. In some cases, immediate load implants restored right away can minimize the healing period and avoid the necessity of an aligner.
How many implants will I need?
The number of implants you will need to have surgically placed depends on the type of dental restoration you are getting. For multiple missing teeth, the location and number will determine whether you need a dental bridge, partial denture or full denture. The number of implants needed to secure one of the following will be determined at your implant consultation.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are made to last a lifetime, but rely on the patient practicing good oral hygiene and visiting our Plano dentist office for routine dental care. This provides the opportunity for our team to monitor the health and stability of the implant or implant-supported appliance