The Latest Ways Dentists Manage Missing Teeth

In the United States, nearly 14% of all adults over 65 have lost most of their teeth. It is a disappointing statistic, when there are so many great ways to replace them

The main reason people lose their teeth is due to not getting regular cleaning and then developing periodontal disease. In an advanced form, this can cause the supporting structures, the jaw bone to deteriorate and the gums to recede. The result is an unflattering appearance and sunken in facial structures, but with a full set of teeth, this can significantly affect your ability to chew your food. This, in turn, affects your digestive system from maximizing the release of important nutrients in food. Folks who are missing lots of teeth that are not replaced, generally restrict their diets to easy to dissolve food, like potatoes and pasta and don’t eat carrots or apples, since they can’t just gum them.

However, with 21st century dentistry, patients have many more choices. If you are missing teeth, some or all, please call Dr Susan Fredericks in Woodland Hills for a consultation on your options and costs at (818) 346-3337

All-on-4 Non-removable Dentures

For patients who want to replace their dentures with something fixed or not removable, the All-on-4 implant is a popular choice. This gives people who are missing all their teeth on at least one jaw the opportunity to get fitted with dental implants. With the All-on-4, four implants are drilled into the arch of the mouth and anchored to the bone. Then a full fixed denture or bridge is screwed into the heads of the implants. Anchoring the dentures in place allows you to eat, drink, smile, laugh and shout without the fear of your teeth slipping out, as some traditional dentures do. “All-on-4 implants are less invasive a than traditional implants and are a step up from having a removable denture in your mouth.

Ceramic Implants

For years, titanium implants have been the gold standard of dental implants. “But in the last 12 years, dentists have started using metal-free alternatives”. These ceramic materials can be a particularly good option for patients with titanium or metal hypersensitivity. But their advantages are broader than that they can be healthier options for your gums and also more aesthetically pleasing. Patients don’t get any gray metal showing through the gum tissue, That can happen with a traditional implant, which is usually dark grey in color.

Options for Damaged Jaws Due to Cancer or Injury

In the past, a lack of bone could keep patients from being able to get dental implants. But new technology has significantly overcome that issue. “Nowadays, oral surgeons are taking donor bone, cadaver bone or even bovine bone, and grafting that into place where bone is lacking. A titanium cage is used to hold it to keep it in place and let it fuse with your existing bone to gain more height and better density. This allows for enough bone to place an implant. Previously, this could not be accomplished.

Faster Healing After Dental Surgery

After dental surgery, such as having implants installed, your mouth has a lot of healing to accomplish. Some surgeons are now injecting a patient’s platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the site to assist with healing. So a surgeon will numb you, take some blood, spin it in a centrifuge in their office to extract PRP cells, then inject that into the surgery area. “The theory is that mixing the bone graft or injecting this into the area will help it heal faster. Research is still not conclusive, to whether this benefits the healing process, but some have great results.

Computerized Mouth Mapping

When placing implants, accuracy is everything. Now many dental offices are obtaining 3D cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). This scanning technology uses a special X-ray beam to help dentists map out the implanting process. Existing old X-ray technology would not tell you the bone density. Oral surgeons want to place the implant where they have the greatest chance of it incorporating into existing bone. With this technology, it’ll tell them the exact angle to put the implant, where the thickest, best-quality bone is, and how to avoid any nerves. This scanner can also inform dentists what brand of implant to use, as well as the diameter and length. “You are essentially doing the surgery on a computer before you even meet the patient. It also helps reduce failure and complications. Susan Fredericks DDS only works with the finest Board Certified oral surgeons with the most up to date technology.

Stem Cell Teeth

In the future, lab researchers may be able to grow your own replacement teeth. Researchers are currently experimenting with stem cell implants in the lab. This approach has only been tested on animals; implementing the same process on humans will take a number of years, but this is coming!

If you still have questions, please give us a call at Susan Fredericks/SouthernCalSmiles in Woodland Hills to find out what will work for you – (818) 346-3337