Retaining and replacing teeth at the Bethanien Dental Center

Gaps in a fully grown dental system cause problems because stability of the teeth on the dental arch is impaired. Isolated teeth have no contact with neighboring teeth and cannot support each other while chewing.

Neighboring teeth may drift into the gap, reducing it and losing contact with the adjoining tooth on the other side. The loss of such contact may cause the teeth to tilt and even topple when the process continues. And on top of that it is possible that the tooth opposite the gap will grow further into the oral cavity due to lack of a counterbite.

If anterior teeth are missing, biting off tough foodstuffs becomes more difficult and, in addition, the gaps impair pronounciation. And, since especially the loss of anterior teeth is very important for esthetic aspects, immediate replacement of these teeth will guarantee restoration of the patient’s wellbeing.

When teeth are lost at the sides chewing will be impaired and other teeth will have to bear a heavier load. In the long run, the altered effects of mechanical forces are going to affect the functioning of the jaws. There may be problems with the temporomandibular joints that can cause pain radiating all the way to a patient’s back.

Dental gap system with generalised chronic periodontitis and tilting of the rear molars on the right side of both upper and lower jaw as well as overgrowing of anterior teeth due to missing opposite teeth.

Bone shrinkage

If there is no longer any functional stimulation due to dental activity, the adjacent tissues such as mucous membranes and connective tissues will degenerate, and so will the bones of the jaws. Bones will atrophy.

If a serious bone loss occurs over many years, there will be typical signs of atrophy such as degeneration of the maxilla as seen from the side or towards the middle axis, respectively. The mandible will shift away from the middle axis.

This will result in a typical “witch’s face”: with a sunken middle face, a maxilla that has moved back and a pointy chin.

Pronounced bone shrinkage in the upper jaw with many years of toothlessness and surface stress caused by the maxillary dentures.

Protecting natural dental substance by means of tooth retaining measures

The range of measures for retaining teeth and for replacing teeth is as varied as our patients’ individual situations. The range of treatment options extends from synthetic fillings via inlays, caps and bridges to partial and total prostheses. We esteem in particular the advantages of full-ceramic substitute teeth from our specialized dental labs.

Maintaining teeth with composites

As a rule, we fill teeth with minor carious defects with composite materials. For a few years a  dental therapy with this economic solution makes sense. The materials used present a sufficiently esthetic appearance.

Maintaining teeth with full ceramics

If major portions of a tooth are diseased the remaining dental substance must be stabilized. For this we have full-ceramic inlays, caps or bridges. These are manufactured individually for our patients, have very tight rims, don’t lose their shape and once they have been inserted they cannot be distinguished from the natural teeth. Today’s ceramics have the same degree of hardness as natural dental enamel and are very durable.

Which possibilities are there for replacing teeth?

Fixed caps or bridges are among the usual dentures as well as removable partial and complete dentures.

Fixed dentures

Regular, fixed dentures are not held by implants (dental implants), they are cemented or glued in. The patient cannot remove these dentures on his own.

Caps and bridges are fixed dentures. For the latter adjacent teeth are surface-treated and serve as anchors for the bridge.

Maintaining teeth with full ceramics

Regular, removable dentures are not held by implants (dental implants) but either by the soft tissues of the oral cavity or by attached clamps that are affixed to existing teeth. Among these are complete and partial dentures that the patients can remove themselves, e.g.  for cleaning purposes.

Complete dentures consist of a synthetic base the color of gums holding the artificial, composite or ceramic, teeth. The dentures sit directly on the mucous membranes of the mouth and are held by the soft tissues and the oral muscles.