The Dangers of Leaving Missing Teeth Unreplaced
Your teeth serve many functions. Obviously they are critical for chewing and esthetics but more importantly if teeth are not replaced especially posterior or back teeth, that empty space will allow neighboring teeth to drift into the space formerly occupied by the extracted tooth.
Without replacing that missing tooth the neighboring teeth above and to the sides will move into that space altering the way your teeth come together. That altered bite changes jaw alignment, blood flow to and from the brain as well as alters the nervous system function throughout the head and neck. Bite changes will eventually disrupt the TMJ or jaw joint.
What are the options for tooth replacement?
Partial dentures which replace the missing teeth (one or several) are removable. This can be an attractive alternative as well as an unattractive alternative due to its removability.
A permanently cemented bridge is the preferred tooth replacement by many because it is permanent but does usually involve crowning adjacent teeth.
Ceramic Dental Implants, or Non-metal Dental Implants
The last tooth replacement option is a ceramic dental implant. This is basically a post placed or rotated into the bone. After healing (4-6 months) a crown can be placed. The attraction of an implant is that it is permanent and does not involve adjacent teeth. Even today implants are usually titanium on which crowns are cemented. Unfortunately titanium implants may present several problems which can be resolved with the newest implant material, porcelain / zirconium.
The only potential limitations to implants is the wait time to heal (4-6 months) and the amount of jaw bone available in which to place an implant.
Titanium implants, used by 95% of dentists placing implants, have an occasional esthetic concern (metal showing) but the biggest concern is that many people develop allergies or sensitivities to Titanium causing jaw bone and gum irritation and inflammation as well as occasional implant rejection.
The new porcelain or Zirconium implants have been better accepted by tissues of the jaws and gums. More people are approving of the non metal solution by having the porcelain implant placed.
If you have questions contact the Biological Dental Team at National Integrated Health Associates 202-237-7000, ext. 2.