The overall dental awareness and dental health status has improved with time.
Teeth are being preserved rather than removed. Nonetheless, teeth may be congenitally missing (born without a tooth or multiple teeth) or lost due to many reasons, amongst which are the following:
- Very gross caries making it impossible to restore
- Advanced periodontal (gum) disease
- Teeth lost in traumatic injuries
- Teeth removed due to the excision of a tumour
While many may still view removal of teeth as a solution to their dental problems, it may turn out to be just the beginning of many more problems!
In the anterior (front) region, loss of even one tooth is severely distracting, besides causing problems in phonation.
Loss of posterior (back) teeth may cause problems in chewing. In cases where most of the posterior teeth are lost, there could be excessive stress during chewing with the front teeth resulting in their premature loss. Thus a replacement becomes essential.
Replacement with a Removable Denture is the most economical.
However, it is not necessary retentive or stable. When oral hygiene is less than ideal, the supporting teeth may become carious or mobile resulting in progressive loss of more teeth. In those totally edentulous (toothless) patients, complete dentures, especially the lower ones, are a constant source of discomfort.
Bridges have the advantage of being fixed. However, it is necessary to prepare adjacent teeth for capping. Tooth decay or tooth fracture may result in failure of the fixed bridge when oral hygiene is less than ideal.
Dental implants represent an important milestone in Advance Dentistry. The possibility of individual replacement of missing teeth in a predictable manner is the closest one could get to simulate or even replicate the natural state of the human dentition. In addition to a fixed replacement of a tooth, it also stabilizes the support bone, maintaining its volume. Premature loss of tooth may cause bone resorption. The biggest advantage of dental implant is that the adjacent teeth are not cut down in any way and the maintenance of the tooth is no difference from the natural dentition.
Where multiple teeth are lost, a reduced number of strategically placed implants could be used to support bridges.
In fully edentulous situations, unstable dentures and inadequate chewing efficiency is the main problem. Implants can be used to provide support and retention for a removable denture.
They may be more costly than other forms of tooth replacement, but when you consider how:
- It can save and preserve the remaining teeth, bone and gum,
- It looks natural
- It improves chewing efficiency with enjoyment of food
The implant is the standard & ideal treatment in the replacement of missing tooth/teeth.