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What is Replacing Missing Teeth?

If you’re missing teeth, then dental implants might be right for you. Zak Dental Care offers dental implants as the most advanced alternative to replacing missing teeth.

Learn about the Missing Teeth Replacement treatment provided at Zak Dental offices in Agoura Hills, Covina/San Dimas, Downey, Long Beach, North Park, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley, Temecula, Valencia, Ventura, and Whittier/La Mirada.

Replace Missing Teeth FAQ


Why is it important to replace missing teeth?

Replacing missing teeth is essential for various reasons including maintaining proper oral function, preserving facial structure, preventing adjacent teeth from shifting, and restoring confidence in your smile.

What are the options for replacing missing teeth?

Common options include dental implants, bridges, and dentures. The choice depends on factors such as the number of missing teeth, overall oral health, budget, and personal preference.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of titanium that are surgically placed into the jawbone. They provide a stable foundation for replacement teeth such as crowns, bridges, or dentures.

How long do dental implants last?

With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime. They are considered a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth.

What are dental bridges?

Dental bridges are prosthetic devices used to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of artificial teeth (pontics) anchored to adjacent natural teeth or dental implants.

How long do dental bridges last?

Dental bridges typically last between 5 to 15 years, depending on factors such as oral hygiene practices, regular dental check-ups, and the materials used in the bridge.

What are dentures?

Dentures are removable prosthetic devices used to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They come in two types: complete dentures (for replacing all teeth in a dental arch) and partial dentures (for replacing several missing teeth).

How long do dentures last?

Dentures generally last between 5 to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. Over time, they may require adjustments or replacement due to changes in the mouth’s structure and wear and tear.

Are there any alternatives to traditional dentures?

Yes, alternatives include implant-supported dentures (which are more stable and secure than traditional dentures) and flexible partial dentures (which are more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing).

How much does it cost to replace missing teeth?

The cost varies depending on the chosen treatment option, the number of missing teeth, the need for additional procedures (such as bone grafting or extractions), geographic location, and the dentist’s expertise. It’s essential to consult with a dentist to get an accurate estimate.


Remember, it’s crucial to consult with a qualified dentist or prosthodontist to determine the best treatment option based on your specific needs and preferences.

MUST WATCH before getting your Dentures

What are the key distinctions between full dentures and implant overdentures?

Lets talks about two types of dentures – fully removable dentures and implant-retained overdentures.

Fully removable dentures are cheaper and don’t require surgery, but they don’t offer the same level of comfort and functionality as implant-retained overdentures.

Implant-retained overdentures involve placing implants in the mouth and attaching the denture to them, which makes it more stable and easier to eat with. Implant-retained overdentures also preserve the jaw bone better, which is important for long-term use.

Fixed Dentures versus Removal Dentures

What are the distinguished differences between a fixed denture and a removable denture when making a decision between the two options?

There are different types of dentures available, including fixed dentures and removable dentures.

Fixed dentures, such as implant-supported dentures, are held in place by either snapping onto implants or being screwed down on implants. This provides superior retention and feels more like natural teeth.

Removable conventional dentures, on the other hand, tend to move around in the mouth and require adhesives. While they are less expensive and don’t require surgical placement of implants, they can decrease bone quantity and quality.

Implant dentures, on the other hand, preserve bone quantity and quality by placing the implant in the bone, which helps to retain bone longer. Overall, implant-supported dentures offer better function and strength, allowing you to eat and bite normally without slippage or the need for adhesives.

Five Questions you must ask before getting Dental Implants

What are some important questions that should be ask when considering dental implants with a dentist?

In summary, before getting dental implants, it’s important to ask your dentist the following questions:

  • Am I a good candidate for implants?
  • Is the dentist an expert in placing implants?
  • How long will the implants last?
  • What sedation options are available?
  • Who will restore the implants?

It’s also recommended to choose a specialty group practice where an oral surgeon or periodontist places the implant and a restorative dentist restores it for the best results.

Reasons to Replace a Missing Tooth

Why is replacing a missing tooth important for my health, and what are my options for doing so in a natural-looking way?

Teeth occupy a neutral position in the dental arches, maintained by a delicate balance of forces from the jaw muscles, tongue muscles, lip muscles, and each other. When a tooth is lost, the adjacent teeth can drift into their former positions, the opposing teeth begin to extrude, and the forces on the remaining teeth are increased. Those that have been weakened by decay and fillings may be at risk of breakage.

Common options for replacing missing teeth include dental implants, which can be individually restored with crowns, or bridges. Bridges can also be tooth supported.

In the front part of the mouth, a bridge can be a very aesthetic solution. Other options may include removable dentures or even orthodontic treatment. You should ask your dentist which of these options may be best for you.

Dental Implants

In what ways can getting a dental implant for a missing tooth improve my health and overall well-being?

Dental implants are now widely prescribed. They have dramatically improved the treatment of edentulous and partially edentulous patients.

Dental implants can be considered replacement roots. Almost any tooth in the jaw can be replaced with an implant, which resembles a metal cylinder and can be threaded. Once a crown is in place, implants are almost indistinguishable from natural teeth.

Multiple dental implants can be restored with individual crowns or connected with a fixed bridge. Traditional placement of a dental implant requires an incision to access the underlying bone. A small pilot hole is made in the bone and checked to see how deep and angled it is. The hole is then enlarged to accommodate the implant. The implant is placed and a cover screw is placed to prevent the gingiva from growing into the implant as it integrates with the bone. The gingival flap is closed and sutured.

During the healing process, the body’s natural inflammatory response causes the bone to remodel away from the implant. This is when new bone begins to form. This process is called “osseointegration”.

Once the implant is firmly in place, there are a number of ways in which the implant can be restored. A partial prosthesis can be placed or a tapered abutment restored with a single crown. Note how the teeth on either side of the implant have not been altered at all – a major advantage of dental implants.

Sometimes it’s possible to remove a severely damaged tooth and replace it with a dental implant the same day. It may also be possible to place a temporary crown on the implant so that the patient is never without a tooth. In cases where this is possible, the socket must first be enlarged to accommodate the implant with sufficient primary stability. If there is a crack in the bone supporting the tooth, or if the tooth is infected, the procedure may not be advisable.

Two dental implants can be placed and a fixed bridge built upon them if a patient is missing several teeth in one quadrant of the mouth. In some cases, a “hybrid” bridge can be built, which is a combination of a dental implant and a natural tooth.

Patients who have a full set of dentures can benefit greatly from having as few as two dental implants. Special attachments can be connected to the implants to secure the denture in the patient’s mouth for chewing and speaking.The patient only needs to remove it to clean and rest the tissue.

Dental Implant-Supported Bridges

What kind of implant bridge options do I have for missing teeth?

If a patient is missing several teeth in one quadrant of the mouth, two dental implants can be placed and a fixed bridge can be built over them. In some cases, a “hybrid” bridge can be made that connects a dental implant to a natural tooth. Hybrid bridges are more commonly used in the front part of the mouth.

Another option is to place a single dental implant and restore it with two teeth if two adjacent front teeth are missing. One is attached directly to the implant. The other is a continuous extension of the retainer crown supported by an underlying framework, known as a cantilevered pontic. Very often, the natural gingival ridge around the crown and pontic returns within a short period of time, and the resulting bridge can look quite natural. Because the two teeth are attached to each other, floss must be placed under the bridge pontic for cleaning around the bridge.

Guidelines Following Dental Implant Surgery

How extensive is the home care after getting an implant?

If a surgical compress or bandage has been placed over the implant site for the first 20 to 30 minutes after surgery, follow the doctor’s advice on how long to leave it in place.

Keep pressure on the compress and, if necessary, talk with your teeth to prevent the gauze from moving.

Do not exert yourself more than necessary (running, lifting, etc.).

Do not rinse your mouth vigorously until your doctor tells you to. This may cause bleeding from the implant site.

Do not smoke unless it is absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, take short puffs of air that do not build up suction.Suction may dislodge a blood clot and cause bleeding. Smoking can also affect healing and has been shown to significantly reduce the success rate of dental implants.

Do not drink through a straw and avoid all carbonated beverages. The air bubbles can help break up blood clots in the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.

Do not spit forcefully as this may also be a cause of bleeding.

Do not dab the wound with gauze, tissues, or other absorbent materials to soak up bleeding. If the wound is bleeding, apply gauze which has been moistened and then dabbed dry directly to the wound and apply pressure for 20 to 30 minutes.

Do not overexert yourself. Exercise increases your blood pressure, which can cause bleeding.

If soft tissue numbness is still present, do not have food or hot beverages until the numbness is gone. It’s possible to bite or burn yourself badly and not know it.

To prevent dehydration, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Your dentist may recommend an electrolyte supplement.

For the first day or two after surgery, it’s a good idea to rest as much as possible.

Avoid chewing or irritating the surgical site.

If your dentist recommends using an antiseptic rinse such as chlorhexidine, rinse the area as directed by your dentist.

Icepacks should be applied indirectly to the area of surgery (such as the cheek on the affected side). Avoid applying cold directly to the skin. Continue to apply for approximately 15 minutes per hour. During the first day, cold may help reduce swelling. After 24 hours this will not help much. In fact, moist heat can be a relief for any muscle soreness you may have.

Be sure to take any pain medicine, antibiotics, or other medicines your doctor may have prescribed.

It’s important to stay well nourished after oral surgery. Soft foods, clear broths, soft boiled, fried, or scrambled eggs, protein powders, steamed rice, tender meats such as fish, nutritional shakes, and foods that are pureed in a blender are among the recommended foods to eat after surgery. While the soft tissue is healing, avoid seeds – especially small berry seeds and husks. Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits and vinegar, and spicy foods and sauces.

To avoid muscle trismus (or reduced opening), practice opening your mouth passively through its full range. When trismus does occur, it is usually temporary and does not indicate that there is a serious problem. Call your dentist if you are unsure or concerned for any reason.

It is a good idea to sleep with your head slightly elevated, if possible, to reduce the chance of throbbing at the surgical site.

Keep your mouth as clean as possible, but avoid vigorous brushing, especially around the surgical site.

Follow your doctor’s advice on when to remove any sutures (or stitches).


Here are some things you can expect to see in the coming days.
Keep in mind that some discomfort can be expected, even though implant placement surgery is not usually associated with significant complications.
There may also be bruising. If swelling occurs within the first few days, it’s usually your body’s natural repair process and usually goes away on its own.

If the swelling starts on the third day, it may be an infection. Call your dentist for an appropriate antibiotic prescription and/or surgical drainage.

It’s normal for some oozing to occur for a day or two after being operated on.

A small amount of blood mixed with saliva can look like a lot of blood. If you’re unsure, apply gentle pressure for a few seconds with clean gauze and watch for significant bleeding. Do not dab at the wound or try to absorb bleeding.
If you think there is too much bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound for 20 to 30 minutes and let your dentist know.

If you experience prolonged numbness (more than several hours) or severe pain after implant placement, contact your dentist immediately.
Generally, several appointments will be needed to prepare the teeth to attach to the implants.

Dental Implant-Supported Fixed Dentures

What makes implant retained dentures a better choice for me compared to traditional?

If you’re missing all of your teeth in one or both jaws, there may be a way to replace them with fixed dentures supported by dental implants that look and function like natural teeth.

With the All-on-Four technique, four dental implants are placed in each jaw, which are then restored with up to ten fixed dentures that you don’t have to remove at night.
In this technique, the posterior implants are angled into the jaw and connected to the prosthesis with angled abutments.

In the upper jaw, this technique avoids the need for surgical placement of bone graft material in the maxillary sinus, which would otherwise be necessary for placement of implants that far back – and while commonly done with high success rates, may not be an option for everyone.

In the lower jaw, the all-on-four technique avoids the placement of implants that would otherwise be placed in close proximity to the nerves in the area.
By angling the implants, they can be placed far enough back in the mouth to replace up to ten permanent teeth – without additional surgery.
Significantly angled placement of a single implant is generally not recommended, but with the All-on-Four technique, it’s usually acceptable because all the teeth attached to the implants are connected, eliminating potentially harmful leverage forces on the individual implants.

Whenever possible, it is usually advisable to place more than four implants in a full-arch restoration with fixed prosthetic teeth. This reduces forces and leverage on individual implants.
However, the All-on-Four technique can be a viable alternative to removable dentures in certain cases where biting and chewing forces can be minimized.

Your dentist can help you decide which options are best for you.

Dental Bridges
What are the advantages of a fixed bridge as a tooth replacement option and how can it benefit me?

Teeth occupy a neutral position in the dental arches, maintained by a delicate balance of forces from the jaw muscles, tongue muscles, lip muscles, and each other. When a tooth is lost, the adjacent teeth can drift into their former positions, the opposing teeth begin to extrude, and the forces on the remaining teeth are increased.
Those that have been weakened by decay and fillings may be at risk of breakage.

A fixed partial denture or “bridge” is one option for replacing missing teeth.
Bridges can be made of several different materials, including metal – usually an alloy of gold, platinum, and palladium that does not corrode in the mouth. The use of other metals may have a greater potential for corrosion or allergy. Visible teeth can be partially covered to avoid metal exposure, or all visible surfaces can be covered with tooth-colored porcelain or resin.
Depending on how many teeth are visible in the smile, it may be necessary to have multiple teeth veneered with porcelain.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal is a common option for bridges that cover the back teeth, with a metal core that strengthens the porcelain during fabrication and provides a rigid backbone.
However, the porcelain may have an opaque appearance for the concealment of darker metals.

One option may be porcelain fused to white ceramic metals such as zirconium.
This eliminates the need to mask a dark metal framework. The porcelain can be made more naturally translucent for a superior cosmetic result.
The structural properties of these materials have improved significantly in recent years.

Depending on which teeth have been lost, bridges can have a wide variety of designs.
A pier abutment can support a long-span bridge where teeth are missing on both sides.
These often have a stress-relieving hinge or “keyway” that connects two segments.
Teeth of different sizes don’t move evenly in the jaw.
The keyways allow the bridge elements to flex on their own so that they do not come loose from the abutment teeth. In addition, they allow the bridgework to be completed in segments so that the patient is better able to plan for the cost.

A cantilever bridge can be used near the front of the mouth if it is carefully designed to avoid excessive forces. Cantilever requires only the reduction of a single tooth to anchor the retainer crown. This tooth must be structurally able to withstand the chewing forces that will be applied to it.

Bonded bridges allow replacement teeth to be placed with little or no reduction of the abutment teeth. Metal or ceramic retainers can be used.

To prevent undermining caries, it is important to maintain excellent oral hygiene around the bridge abutments.
Your dentist or dental hygienist may be able to recommend specific hygiene aids for this purpose.

Stress-Breakers in Bridges

What exactly are Stress-Breakers in Bridges, and why are they so important?

Depending on which teeth have been lost, bridges can have a variety of different designs.

If teeth are missing on both sides, a pier abutment can support a long-span bridge.
They often have a stress relieving hinge or “keyway” that connects the two segments together.
Teeth of different sizes do not move evenly.
The keyways allow the bridge elements to flex independently of each other so that they do not come loose from the abutment teeth.
In addition, they allow the bridgework to be completed in segments so that the patient is better able to plan for the cost.