Conventional Replacements for Missing Teeth

Different Types and Benefits 

If you have missing teeth, you might consider opting for dentures or implants, both of which have their own benefits. This article explains dentures and why they are still a preferable mode of treatment for missing teeth.  

Dentures

Dentures are among the oldest treatments for missing teeth. Sometimes they are also referred to as false teeth, but they also have a natural look to them. They can be permanent or removable, though most dentures are of the removable type.

Dentures are composed of the crown or crowns which resemble the missing teeth, and they are usually made of acrylic. The crowns sit on a plate or a base which, in turn, resembles your natural gums. The denture should fit exactly in the mouth; they stick to your gums via natural suction or via adhesive. You should wear them during the day, and remove them for cleaning at night and during sleep. 

There are several types of dentures. Complete or full dentures are those that replace all of your teeth; they may be for both upper and lower jaws, or one of them. Partial dentures are those that replace the missing teeth and yet are attached to the existing teeth. Flexible dentures are composed of a softer and flexible base, unlike the traditional ones. They are also the most comfortable to wear. 

What are the benefits of dentures? 

Dentures may not require surgery unless it is necessary to extract for a more stable appliance and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Flexible dentures are stain and odor-resistant, and do not require adhesives to stick to the gums.  They are cost effective and comparatively more affordable than dental implants. Dentures can help fill out the appearance of your face and profile, restoring your smile and confidence. 

Dentures may make your gums sore and uncomfortable when they are just new. Over time your mouth will adjust to the appliance. It is still essential to practise good oral hygiene and keep your dental appointments.

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Learn More 

When you have issues about missing teeth, be sure to consult with us at West Campus Dental Center. We are your friendly, state-of-the-art dental facility in Federal Way.


How Do Missing Teeth Affect Oral Health?

The Consequences

Some people with missing teeth do not mind at all the lack of one or two teeth in their mouth, especially if the gap or gaps are not noticeable at all. Such is the case if the vacancies are towards the back of the mouth. Nonetheless, wherever there are missing teeth potential problems may arise.

Your teeth work together to support daily routines like speaking, eating, chewing, and even smiling. Gaps in between teeth can impact these functions in mild, moderate, or severe degrees. Mild cases, over time, can have severe consequences. It can affect the quality of life and overall health.

Aesthetics

The first issue you deal with when you have missing teeth is aesthetics. Gaps do not look becoming on your smile, which you may tend to minimize or hide. It may affect your self-confidence and how you deal with others. These can be the emotional consequences.

Chewing Food

You might find it difficult or uncomfortable chewing your food. If there’s a missing tooth or two on one side of your arch, you tend to favor biting or chewing food on the other side. This puts an unbalanced pressure on the side most used and can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gums, including the jaw and facial muscles. You might also eat at a slower pace than before. Also, you may find yourself avoiding certain foods that you used to enjoy as eating them gives you discomfort.

Possible Issues Long-term

Missing teeth can alter your bite over time. Did you know that a tooth can drift, gradually shifting towards the gap nearest to it? Due to the chewing forces you daily apply on your teeth, the drifting tooth wants to compensate for the loss. Later, a gap will slowly develop on its other side, followed by other teeth. The situation can affect bite, cause crooked teeth, sensitivity, grinding, and difficulty chewing.

Missing teeth can also change the shape of your face, causing you to appear much older than you really are. This is due to the bone underneath the missing tooth to eventually shrink and weaken. This may lead to your mouth appearing to shift as the part of the bone in that area is no longer stimulated.

Consider replacement options available for missing teeth which are effective and lasting for years.

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Considering Your Options In Federal Way

When you are missing a tooth or two, consider your options with us at West Campus Dental. Talk to your Federal Way dentist and have the replacement right away to avoid the ill effects of missing teeth on oral health.


Three Options To Have For Missing Teeth

The Pros and The Cons

Many people have experienced missing teeth at different times in their lifetime for a number of reasons, like tooth decay, gum disease, an injury or trauma, and at times, a genetic condition. Whatever the cause, you would be looking at replacing the tooth or teeth to restore aesthetics and function. There are three options to choose from and pros and cons for each.

Removable partial denture

This intends to replace some number of your teeth, like multiple teeth located along the same arch. This appliance consists of replacement crowns attached to a pink-colored, plastic base. To hold the base in place, the neighboring natural teeth are used as anchors; sometimes clasps are used.

Pros and Cons

These dentures look and feel natural. The colors of the base and the crowns match that of your gums and natural teeth. They are a less expensive option (ranging from $1500 – $3000 depending on location and may be covered by insurance. If you happen to lose or break them, they are easy to repair or replace. Since they are removable, they can be easily cleaned and you can rest your gums without them before you sleep. On the other hand, some may find them uncomfortable at first and may take some getting used to. Also, constantly handling them can make them prone to damage.

Fixed dental bridge

This is for replacing one or more teeth in the same area. It’s called a bridge because it bridges a gap where there used to be a tooth using an artificial tooth or crown. The crown is attached to the neighboring teeth and bonded with dental cement. It’s also an option for those who do not want a dental implant.

Pros and Cons

Fixed dental bridges are more affordable than dental implants, ranging from $3000 -$5000 for a single bridge, depending on location and materials used; also may be covered by insurance. They look and feel like natural teeth also. They don’t look noticeable if they are exactly of the same color as your natural teeth. When it comes to disadvantages, they tend to be difficult to clean, especially under the bridge where tooth decay can start. They can alter existing teeth, causing gradual damage over time if they are poorly fitted.

Dental implant

It is needed to replace a tooth or even several teeth in different locations. A titanium metal post is implanted surgically into the gap extending to the jaw bone, then a replacement tooth is mounted on the implant. It’s a permanent replacement.

Pros and cons

Its most notable advantage is its close resemblance to natural teeth and its sturdiness and durability, lasting decades or an entire lifetime with proper care. It also does not alter adjacent teeth, leaving them intact. What may be disadvantages are: the cost (ranging from $3000 – $6000 per implant) is higher than the previous two options, plus there may be deductibles and copays even with insurance, the involvement of surgery, and the long healing process (6-9 months).

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Find Your Best Options in Federal Way

When you’re ready to consider replacing your missing teeth, come see us at West Campus Dental Center. Let your Federal Way dentist see which option suits your situation best.


Recognizing Dental Implant Failure

Signs of Dental Implant Failure

While dental implants are options that are sturdy and lasting, there are times and for some reasons they can fail. There are warning signs that will tell you that you may be headed towards a dental implant failure. These signs can either appear early, like just after the procedure or some 3 to 4 months later, or on the other hand, many years later.

One early warning sign is if you feel pain, gum swelling, and discomfort that do not subside after a week. While these symptoms are to be expected as consequences of surgery, they should not linger for too long and severe enough to affect your daily routine. Pain may be present particularly when biting or chewing. You must let your dentist know right away.

You might be experiencing loss of taste, a tingling sensation, and some swelling. These may be allergic reactions to titanium alloy which is present in some implants. See your dentist right away if this is the case and you would need a replacement that does not contain titanium.

Another early sign is when you’ve observed some micromovements of the implant. This means the implant lacks stability and is inserted into the jawbone in spite of little or insufficient bone mass for support. Being so, the implant will not integrate well with bone. Well inserted implants into healthy jawbone do not move as the procedure is meant to keep them securely in place.

Signs of peri-implantitis like redness, leeding, swelling gums, receding gums, and pus may appear around the implant. It’s an infection that if caught early without considerable bone loss can still be reversed. Risk factors for an infection include smoking, poor oral hygiene, and the presence of an autoimmune disease.

Some long-term complications of dental implants include nerve or tissue damage presenting as numbness or tingling sensation in the gums, tongue or lips. This is a consequence of placing the implant very near a nerve. Another reaction, though uncommon, is foreign body rejection, where the body rejects the implant. Site pain, swelling, fever, and chills are symptoms. A complication arises when an upper jaw implant protrudes into the sinus cavity. Another is a subsequent trauma or injury to the face in the area of the implant may lead to its loosening.

Whether your signs and symptoms are of the early or late stage in dental implant failure, see your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as you can for consequent treatment and guidance.

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Helping You Advance To Implant Success in Federal Way

If you decide to have your dental implant at West Campus Dental in Federal Way, rest assured we will guide you through your journey towards implant success.


Factors That Can Lead To Dental Implant Failure

Factors for Dental Implant Failure

It’s true that dental implants can last a lifetime, but there are times when certain factors play a role that can lead to failure. It should be good to know what these are so that we can avoid them to the best of our ability, and prolong the life and usefulness of implants. Here are some common factors to blame.

There was insufficient bone mass to sustain the implant. This should have been ascertained before the procedure, like via x-rays. If bone is proved to be insufficient, bone grafting or sinus lifting would have been done prior. Bone loss can also plague the implant post-surgery. For example, you may have osteoporosis, periodontitis, and other medical conditions.

There was negligence in care and maintenance of the implant. Neglect of proper oral hygiene as brushing and flossing can impact the surrounding structures and the implant itself. Though the implant is metal and the crown used is artificial, food debris, bacteria, and acid can build up and still attack the gumline. Peri-implantitis is that progressive infection that affects implants.

You are smoking. How does smoking cause implant failure? Studies have shown that overall implant failure rates are higher in smokers than nonsmokers (11% vs 5%). That’s because nicotine affects blood flow to the implant area, affecting integration of bone to the implant, thereby including healing.

You are a teeth grinder. Teeth grinding puts unnecessary pressure on teeth surfaces and can lead to cracking of the replacement crown, loosening of the abutment screw, and ultimately, implant fracture. The repeated, nightly clenching or grinding of teeth causes movements, however small, of the implant. Especially during the healing process, the movements interfere with the proper osseointegration.

Your age can also impact implant success. Older adults have slower healing processes. They also may have underlying medical issues, like diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, bleeding disorders, and a compromised immune system.

You have taken treatments and medicines that may influence implant failure, like blood-thinning drugs (aspirin), immunosuppressive drugs, or radiation treatments.

You have unfortunately gone to an inexperienced surgeon. How does inexperience affect implant failure. It could be any one of these: poorly designed implants, improper placement of the implant, tissue trauma during implant placement, or attaching a crown before an implant is stable.

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Helping You Advance To Implant Success in Federal Way

If you decide to have your dental implant at West Campus Dental, rest assured we will guide you through your journey towards implant success. That’s only here in Federal Way.


The Dental Implant Procedure Made Easy

Dental Implant Timeline and Expectations

Dental implant procedures require surgery and hence, there are steps to be undertaken by your specialist. Find out what you should be expecting in the coming 3 to 9 months.

Evaluation

This is the first step. Certainly, the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone have to be assessed to find out if these oral structures can maintain the implant. It must be ascertained that you don’t have periodontal disease and there is no bone brittleness. The extent of the procedure will also be determined by how many teeth are to be replaced. As an outpatient procedure, you may undergo local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia.

Implant Placement

For an endosteal implant, your dentist will expose the jawbone by cutting the gum tissue and drilling a hole for the implant to be inserted. A temporary denture can be placed on top until the permanent crown is ready. Now for subperiosteal implant, no drilling is required as the implant post will be placed on or above the bone. While both procedures can make you experience swelling and discomfort for several days, you are able to return to normal activities a day after the implant placement.

Osseointegration

This is the process where the implant integrates with the bones of the jaw. The bone grows around the implant post, strengthening and securing the hold. This can last from 2 to 6 months which is the time new bone growth is completed.

Abutment placement

An abutment is a metal extender that connects the replacement crown to the implant. It is typically adjusted to the head of the root implant and which can be done during the implant placement process. Otherwise, it can be a second procedure, under anesthesia. Your dentist will make an incision on the gum that has grown over the implant top. A healing cap has actually been placed over the implant as a protection and deterrence to tissue growing over it. The cap will be removed so that the abutment can be screwed to the implant. After being set in place and during the next few months of healing, gum tissue will grow and contour itself around the abutment.

Crown Placement

This is your next dentist appointment once the healing period is done. The dentist takes an impression of your oral cavity which will help determine the shape of your replacement crown that will fit to the abutment. This can either be your choice of a fixed crown or a removable one. If fixed, the crown is permanently cemented or screwed on. If removable, the crown is put on a metal frame and attached to the abutment for easy removal and cleaning.

Dentist Visitations

Inform your dentist if you are feeling discomfort or pain after the process, if there is bleeding, swelling, or an uncomfortable bite. Have regular dental checkups while you are going about routine dental hygiene care.

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Learning More About Dental Implants in Federal Way

If you are opting for a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, come visit our Federal way dentist at West Campus Dental for more information.


What Are Dental Implants and Are They All the Same?

Understanding Dental Implants and Types

It will not only make you self-conscious if you have missing teeth. The gap can put your alignment in trouble, as well as noticeably changing your face shape over time. Neighboring teeth can drift into the space or opposing teeth can go downwards or upwards into the gap. These things happen because the bone under the missing tooth can degenerate or resorp without the usual pressure bearing down on it.

Missing teeth can be replaced to prevent these issues. If you ask your dentist, there are several options. One of the most durable and popular recommendations are dental implants.

Dental implants are also called ‘replacement teeth’ meant to take the place of missing teeth. They consist of artificial tooth roots placed surgically into the jawbone above the missing tooth. It may take a few months for the surrounding bone to grow completely around the implant (a process called osseo- integration) securing it in place. A replacement crown will then be attached to the metal connector of the implant, simulating a natural tooth and hence, closing the gap.

Types of Dental Implants

There are several types of dental implants that are appropriate for different situations. However, there are two major types. One is endosteal implants. Endosteal means “in the bone” and they are implants that are implanted deep into the jawbone. On the other hand, subperiosteal (“on the bone”) implants are inserted under the gums.

Endosteal implants are the most common type. They are shaped like small screws that can be ‘screwed’ in or inserted using a cone that mimics a natural root. They are usually made of titanium, one of the safest and most durable materials to use for the purpose. Surgically inserted deep into the jawbone, these implants take the place of roots and are more secured in place and are permanent. One or several teeth can be used as an anchor by the implant.

Subperiosteal implants are used in place of endosteal ones when there is not enough healthy jawbone available to support the implant. Hence, they cannot be drilled into the jaw, but instead are inserted under the gum forming a metal base and above the jawbone, or on top of the bone. This is an option by some who do not want to undergo the procedure of bone rebuilding.

Another type of dental implant, one that is the latest and not yet popular option is the zygomatic implant. Its procedure is rather complicated and complex. It requires placing the implant in the patient’s cheekbone. It is another option if the patient does not have enough healthy jawbone.

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How Do You Care for Dental Implants? Part 2

More Dental Implant Care Info

Remember that care for your dental implants is a huge part of implant success. Here are more dental implant aftercare instructions.

Maintain your proper oral hygiene while you are in the healing process.

Do your usual brushing at night before bed but avoid contact with the implant. After every meal, rinse with warm water with a teaspoon of salt. Continue for about a week after your procedure, and then next use a chlorhexidine rinse, which is a disinfectant and antiseptic. For a few days at least, don’t use electric toothbrushes or water flossers as they can be vigorous. Brushing, mouth rinsing, and flossing every day cannot be ignored. While the implant will not get cavities, the soft tissue around it can be infected. Remember that infections are the leading cause of implant failure.

Be careful with your diet.

Do not chew yet on the side where your implant is. Don’t take hot food or drink for at least a week after surgery. Stay hydrated by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of cold or room- temperature water on the first day. However, do not swish liquids around the implant site. Avoid hard and crunchy foods; stay on with soft foods until post-op symptoms subside. Normal diet can be resumed in about a week. Be sure your diet is nutritious because your body needs it during healing.

Don’t smoke for at least 2 months after surgery (or give it up entirely).

The nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels and hampers the integration of your implant with the bone. It can lead to infection or implant failure. Also, avoid alcohol for 72 hours after surgery or better, give it up for a week. Alcohol slows down blood vessel formation and that can lead to the implant not fusing well with bone.

Have a check-up visit with your dentist 2 weeks after the surgery.

If the stitches are not absorbable, they should be taken out. Your dentist will need to assess the progress of healing and check out your gums for any signs of infection. Your dentist should also note if you are putting too much stress on the implant such as if you clench your teeth.

Always be alert to how your implant is behaving.

Signs of infection anywhere in the mouth should be consulted with your dentist. Have regular cleanings to ward off infection or contamination. Remember that you can ensure implant success if you work closely with your dentist and if you faithfully follow aftercare instructions well.

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Working Together with Your Federal Way Dentist

Let us help you ensure that your dental implants are a success by regularly seeing Dr. Hwang, our Federal way dentist. Whenever you have concerns about your implants, do not hesitate to call or see us.


How Do You Care for Dental Implants?

Guide to Dental Implant Care

Care for your dental implant starts immediately after you’ve had your procedure. It’s important that you are guided and know what to do where aftercare is concerned. Proper care ensures the success of your implants to last you a long time. Here’s the guide to implant aftercare from the day of surgery to the following weeks thereafter.

After Dental Implant Surgery

When your implant surgery ends, the implant care process begins. As soon as your surgery ends, the dental implant care process will begin. You must have been told that somebody else needs to drive you home. By this time the anesthesia is starting to wear off. Don’t worry about your recovery, it is usually not a huge cause for concern. More important is not to touch the surgery site and not to mouthwash vigorously.

Expect that there may be bleeding from the implant site that may last up until 72 hours after the surgery. To control the bleeding, put a gauze on top of the implant and bite on it firmly for an hour. Repeat every 6 to 10 hours. Use a moistened black tea bag instead if bleeding is excessive; the tannic acid in black tea constricts the blood vessels and promotes clotting. Avoid unnecessary bleeding by staying calm, avoiding physical exercise. Just sit upright and don’t bend or lift heavy things. No forceful spitting, smoking or using a straw; they can interfere with blood clotting.

If you experience pain, manage it by taking Tylenol and not the usual NSAIDS, like Ibuprofen or Advil. They can inhibit the integration of the implant with the bone. In fact, take your painkiller before anesthesia wears off, but don’t do it more than every 6 hours. About 4 days after surgery, pain and discomfort may subside. Call your dentist if you experience prolonged stiffness of the throat and difficulty swallowing. Antibiotics are not necessary unless your dentist suspects there’s an infection.

A day after surgery, you may experience swelling and bruising around the nose and eyes, particularly if there has been sinus lifting. It will peak in 2 to 3 days and afterward subside. To minimize swelling and bruising, apply an ice pack on to your face in the area of the implant. Let it stay 15-20 minutes at a time and repeat for 48 hours. Ask your doctor for an anti-inflammatory OTC product, but use caution as it can affect the healing process. Stay hydrated, avoid salt, and prop up your head when sleeping.

Get enough rest and don’t go to work the next day. Take a few days off if your job requires strenuous activity. For about a week, avoid any physical exercise or vigorous exertion because these can interfere with healing. Get 8 hours of sleep every night as most of your healing happens when you are in bed.

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Ensuring Implant Success in Federal Way

When you have your dental implants with us, rest assured that you are properly guided and monitored during your aftercare. See our Federal Way dentist Dr. Hwang, for more info on dental implants.


Are Dental Implants for Certain Age Groups Only?

Age Restriction for Dental Implants

While dental implants may be a great option to replace missing teeth because implants do not harm existing natural teeth and facial structure, there may be some drawbacks when it comes to age. One of the prerequisites for a successful implant is there must be sufficient and sturdy bone mass. It is important that the jaw bone is able to support the titanium post of implants that serve as an anchor. 

Children and Dental Implants

In children not yet reaching puberty, their jawbone has not yet reached skeletal maturity and is still undergoing growth spurts. If implants are placed in such immature bone, they can interfere in the bone development and may result in complications. There are several associated risks. For example, there will be greater risk for bone loss around the implant; the patient may develop bite issues and spaces in between their teeth. Also, there may be changes in the craniofacial region that might affect the appearance of the face.

When does the jaw bone stop growing?

It differs from teen to teen, though typically, the jaw bone reaches maturity until 18, 19, or 20 years old. In some cases, skeletal maturity has not been completed until the mid-20’s. Hence, because of this, adolescents under 18 years old are generally unsuitable for dental implant surgery. Unless, it can be proved that they have reached their skeletal maturity. 

As far as adult patients are concerned, it is the quality of the bone mass at the implant site that is important; not the age of the patient. If the jaw bone is healthy in an adult, there is a higher chance that the implant post will be integrating well and forming a strong bond with bone, a process called osseointegration. It makes for higher success rates coupled with proper oral care. 

Learning More about Federal Way Dental Implants

Do want to find out if you are ready for dental implants? See our Federal Way dentist now for a consult and let us talk about what suits you best.