Cosmetic tooth restorations deliver medical as well as aesthetic benefits to you. It is never wise to ignore even so much as one tooth missing in your mouth. As we will see in a moment, delaying treatment has some very serious consequences that can make your life so miserable you will demand treatment someday as much as you procrastinate today.
The good news, however, is that if you are missing one or more teeth, there are many options available to you that you can consider. Regardless of your finances or current state of dental health, one of them is ideal for you.
If you are thinking about delaying cosmetic dental treatment, you need to be aware of the fact that without teeth and tooth roots, the jawbone in that area consistently shrinks. Jawbones, like all other tissues in the body, have nerve endings. As tooth roots vibrate during the course of chewing, these nerves are stimulated and trigger active bone growth and rejuvenation. Without roots to carry this stimulus, however, the jaw atrophies, weakens, and begins to deteriorate.
This causes your appearance in a number of noticeable ways. It first alters the shape of your upper and lower arches, which then has a visible impact on your cheeks and mouth. Your face will wrinkle and cause you to look older than you are. Putting off treatment will make future corrections more complicated and expensive.
Without some sort of cosmetic tooth restoration, you will also have difficulty chewing, and you may repeatedly bite the inside of your mouth. This is due to the fact that teeth rely on each other for support. When even one tooth is lost, every tooth around it will shift. This sets off a chain reaction of dental problems, including an increased risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease, changes to your bite, and even problems with the jaw joint, the TMJ.
One option cosmetic tooth restoration option is to wear an implant-supported crown or bridge. Unlike partials and standard dental bridges, an implant supported crown or bridge replaces the roots of missing teeth. This ensures that the jaw continues to get the necessary stimulation it needs for the bone to stay healthy and retain its natural shape. After the healing process following implantation is complete, a porcelain crown, partial dentures, or implant-supported dental bridge can be fitted to it.
Provided you are a viable candidate for dental implants, we recommend this as the very best possible cosmetic tooth restoration. However, if you cannot afford implants at this time, or if other mitigating factors prohibit implantation, we have two alternatives we can recommend.
The first alternative is to wear a standard dental bridge. There are several types of standard dental bridges that will function effectively and look very attractive as cosmetic tooth restorations. All of them are anchored permanently to neighboring teeth. This requires dentists to reduce the size of anchor teeth and reshape them, even if they are healthy. This is not always the best option for every patient, because for some people, it can increase the chances of decay and require subsequent root canal therapy.
If nothing else, as a temporary solution you can wear a partial denture. A partial is held in place by clasps or special attachments, and it can be removed for sleeping and cleaning. Todays partial dentures look much more natural teeth and can be relined and readjusted to maintain comfort and functionality. However, they do not prevent bone loss, so we recommend this only as a temporary measure until such time as you can qualify for a better cosmetic tooth restoration.
Houston Cosmetic Dentistry is a specialized field that requires extensive knowledge and experience to be done correctly. The Medical Center Dental Group in Houston, Texas brings all of that and more to the direct benefit of each and every patient we treat. Although we are located in the world famous Houston Medical Center at Scurlock Towers, we routinely see dental patients who travel from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Beaumont and Midland Texas to see Dr. Dale Brant, Dr. Charles Campbell or Dr. Elizabeth OSullivan-Winslow for their cosmetic denistry services that includes: