Even though dental care has improved tremendously over the past few decades, many people will still be faced with complete tooth loss. They must decide how best to replace these missing teeth.

In the past, options were limited to removable dentures to replace full or complete arches of teeth. If some natural teeth were present and strong enough, then a tooth supported bridge.

Why Tooth Supported Bridges and Full and Partial Dentures Are Less Than Perfect

Although these solutions can be adequate, they are not great and often don’t provide optimal results. Tooth supported bridges can be a reasonable choice. It does place considerable stress on these teeth and it also means your dentist will need to cut down perfectly healthy teeth to support the bridge.

This isn’t the best solution, as removing any tooth structure increases the risk of these teeth becoming infected and decayed at some point in the future.

This can occur as the crowns supporting the bridge begin to age and leak, letting in bacteria. Dentures are another imperfect choice, resting on the gums or sometimes being held in place with clamps around existing teeth.

One of the major problems with any form of denture is that eventually, the ridge that used to support your natural teeth will change shape. This is because of the bone loss that occurs naturally after your teeth are removed.

As the bone changes shape, it makes it more difficult for the dentures to be comfortably retained. Full and partial dentures can often rub on the gums. It is not only uncomfortable but can place pressure on the gum tissue and the bone underneath, increasing the rate at which this bone is reabsorbed. This is where implant supported teeth can help.

What Are Implant Supported Teeth?
Implant supported teeth are teeth that are fitted onto dental implants. Dental implants are small titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone. They work by gradually integrating with the jawbone in a process called Osseointegration.

During this time the titanium posts that have been specially treated to encourage bone growth will gradually become bonded with the surrounding bone.

It takes between three and six months after implant placement for this process to be completed. By this time the implant posts are strong enough to support new teeth. Dental implants are an extremely versatile treatment that can provide a number of different solutions that include fixed and removable teeth.

What Are Fixed Implant Teeth?
With fixed implant teeth, you will be supplied with a tooth bridge, and this can restore up to 12 teeth in an arch. The bridge will be permanently fitted onto the dental implant posts either by being screwed or cemented in place and does not affect any remaining natural teeth.

With this solution, you will not be able to remove your teeth as instead, they will remain permanently in position. Unless your dentist needs to take them out for any maintenance or cleaning.

This is why often a fixed bridge will be screwed in place as this will secure it firmly in position but does mean it is easily retrievable. The advantages of choosing a fixed bridge of teeth include better strength so you will be able to eat just about anything you like. This option makes it very easy to forget about tooth loss.

However, with a fixed bridge, you do require a greater number of dental implants compared to removable implant supported teeth. This will obviously increase the cost of treatment.

What are Removable Implant Teeth?
Removable implant teeth can be taken out for easy cleaning. These teeth clip onto special attachments on the implants which do mean they are secured firmly in place and they can look great.

With this option, you get something like a denture but which will be much more stable making it easier to eat and talk. Removable implant teeth may also be called implant supported dentures or implant overdentures and it is an extremely affordable option.

With this choice, it’s often possible to secure a complete arch of lower teeth with as few as two or four dental implants. These implants are strategically placed to provide maximum support for the implant denture and this also helps to maximize use of available jawbone.

It can be a particularly good choice if you lost teeth many years ago, and have since suffered substantial jawbone loss. Often this solution will be recommended for people who may have previously investigated implant treatment.

It’ll be recommended for people who have been told they required a bone graft for it to be successful. With implant supported dentures, it’s often unnecessary to have a bone graft because of the positioning of the dental implants.

Another thing to consider about this option is that it can also be used to secure upper teeth. When this is the case the upper implant denture is constructed in a slightly different way to normal.

As the implant overdenture will clip into place, it isn’t necessary to have any retention that would normally be provided by covering up the upper palate. Instead, the implant-supported denture is constructed in a shape exactly like a lower denture, leaving the upper plate uncovered.

As well as getting a denture that feels far less bulky and much more comfortable, you should find food tastes better. This is because the upper palate does contain lots of taste buds.

You’ll be able to get the most out of mealtimes while enjoying a greater range of foods with your newly stable teeth.

Deciding Which Choice Is Best
Deciding which option go for is a big decision to make and it’s best to talk it over with your dental implant dentist during your initial consultation. If you still have some of your natural teeth, a fixed bridge is the best choice, especially as it should look and feel incredibly natural.

At this stage, you should be able to get a quote for the approximate cost of each treatment. You can learn exactly what is involved with each option.

For many people, the choice will be based largely on cost but whichever you choose, you should be able to enjoy many years of trouble-free use. It’s well worth considering this when making your final choice. When properly cared for, dental implants should provide a long-term or even permanent solution for tooth loss.

Author's Bio: 

Emma started writing at the age of 14. As the years passed she studied many fields including health, research and a variety of writing styles. Today she is a writer of health and wellness, technology, pet products and fashion articles, poetry, short stories, as well as children's stories.