Looking for Tooth Replacement Options?

happy smiling old coupleLost teeth create many issues that can affect your quality of life. These include cosmetic concerns and the resulting drop in self-confidence; functional difficulty with chewing and speaking, which can lead to nutritional deficits; as well as jawbone deterioration. In addition, research has shown that not replacing just one missing tooth increases your risk of losing more teeth in the future.


Whether you recently lost a tooth, have a failing prosthetic, or want to explore options for replacing teeth you lost years ago—the more you know about modern dental prosthetics, the wiser treatment decisions you can make. At Family Dentistry and Aesthetics, we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced and respected dentists. We will provide you with the facts about your oral health, then advise you on the most practical and long-lasting treatment options. Call our Ft. Wayne, IN dental practice today to reserve your personal consultation.

An Overview of Dental Implants

Dental implants have evolved as the ideal way to replace missing teeth. They are strong, long lasting and, most importantly, are comfortable and chew like natural teeth. Dental implants have an excellent track record; the most current research tells us that dental implant cases are 98% successful, and restore tooth functions permanently. In addition, dental implants are individually anchored in the jaw bone, so they never rely on natural teeth for support.

Dental implants can:

  • Replace a single tooth
  • Replace several teeth
  • Stabilize a denture
  • Reconstruct an entire arch of teeth
  • Be a permanent anchor for a non-removable prosthetic

A brief outpatient surgery is required to secure one or more implant posts, after which a temporary prosthetic is usually attached. Over the course of three months or longer, jawbone tissue fuses to the implant’s biocompatible structure to solidify the bond and create a strong anchor for a permanent replacement tooth, bridge, partial, or denture. Once the implant is fully integrated with the jaw, the dentist will secure the final prosthetic. Implants require no special care, and with good oral health, they can last a lifetime. Should the restoration (crown, denture) become damaged, the doctor can usually replace it without having to alter the implant post.

Secure, Reliable, Non-Slip Implant-Retained Dentures

About Traditional Dentures

When all teeth on the upper and/or lower arch are missing or have been removed, a denture is necessary to replace the lost teeth and restore a person’s ability to chew and speak. Neglecting to wear a denture will ultimately result in facial collapse, (which makes a person’s face look old and shrunken), as well as poor nutrition and declining quality of life. Patients transitioning to dentures for the first time, or those who feel frustrated with loose, poorly fitting dentures, may prefer implant-retained dentures.

Chewing difficulties are not uncommon with traditional dentures. All dentures feature a complete row of teeth, fixed to a base. Upper, or maxillary, dentures can be made with a closed palate so that it may be retained by suction to the roof of the mouth. Closed palate dentures are known to reduce a person’s ability to taste food. All lower dentures, called mandibular dentures, have a horseshoe shape to allow room for the tongue to function. Lower dentures traditionally are more difficult to adapt to and retain.

Traditional dentures require daily care, special brushing, a cleaning solution, and must be relined every few years to ensure a good fit. Over time, as the jawbone loses its bony ridges due to natural deterioration and friction, the fit of dentures worsens. This problem occurs more frequently with lower dentures. They begin to wobble, slip, and loosen, sometimes falling out of place during a meal or while speaking.

Innovative, Reliable Implant-Retained Dentures

To eliminate all comfort and function problems, dentures can be locked onto 4-6 implant posts. Implant-retained dentures are the prosthetic that most closely looks, feels, and functions like healthy, natural teeth. These implant-based dentures are made to snap into the implant fixtures for superior stability, yet still be removable for cleaning.

A hybrid denture is the ultimate in denture reconstruction. This denture is actually screwed into the implant fixtures and does not come out. The hybrid denture truly chews feels like you have natural teeth again. When you visit Family Dentistry and Aesthetics for a consultation, help you determine the best option for your personal circumstances.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge can also replace a few teeth, when the missing teeth are adjacent to one another. However, when a person is missing many teeth across the upper or lower arch, a bridge will not suffice. Instead, a partial denture is necessary, in most cases. Simply known as partials, partial dentures feature a few replacement teeth secured to a metal or plastic base. Today, our respected dental lab uses highly aesthetic materials to build bridges, so they look more natural than ever before. A partial denture relies on clips on the base to attach the partial to healthy teeth. Like a bridge, a partial relies on healthy teeth for support, which places those teeth under additional stress and increases their potential for failure.

Dental Implant-Retained Bridges and Partials

A bridge or partial may be attached to one or more dental implants. The advantage of using implants to support a bridge or partial is strength. The implant body and attachments are made of surgical titanium, so they are stronger than teeth. Additionally, implants aren’t subject to cavities, root canals, or any other problems that plague natural teeth. The procedure to secure implants is the same, regardless of whether the doctor is placing one or many. After the outpatient surgery, the patient’s jaw will heal and bond the implant post in place, over the course of three or more months. Once the implants have fused to the bone and healed adequately, the doctor will secure the bridge or partial to the implants at your final appointment.

Replace One Tooth

For many decades, the option to replace a single missing tooth was installing a dental bridge. Functionally and aesthetically, bridges work well. They replace one or more missing teeth in a row. However, conventional bridges are secured by dental crowns placed on the healthy teeth that surround the bridge’s location. Crowning healthy teeth requires significant reduction of natural tooth structure, which puts the crowned teeth at greater risk for failure or loss in the future. Add to this the stress that the crowned teeth take on by supporting the bridge, and you increase the potential for complications.

Single Tooth Support with Implant

Today, patients have another option to replace a single lost tooth: a single dental implant. A bridge requires support from natural, healthy teeth, but an implant is self-sustaining. Because the implant is anchored to the bone, it behaves just like a natural tooth root. The teeth adjacent to the implant are not touched during the procedure, and this can be a considerable advantage when one is considering a fixed dental bridge or a dental implant.

Discuss Your Options

Our dentists at Family Dentistry & Aesthetics in Fort Wayne, IN, will help you find the teeth replacement solution that’s best suited for your goals, lifestyle, and budget. Call us today at 260-432-0561 and reserve a personal oral examination and consultation. We’ll take time to discuss your needs and expectations, and to explain treatment options.