What is the Most Natural Looking Way to Replace All of My Teeth?
When someone is missing all of his or her teeth, or facing the impending loss of all teeth, that person has a variety of dental options for replacing all of the teeth. These options range widely in cost, invasiveness, comfort, functionality, and long-term success.
When it comes to establishing the best, most natural-looking appearance, there is not a single right answer for all people. The different options may look different in different faces. We’ll describe this in more detail here.
What are the Dental Options for Replacing All Teeth?
As we said, there are many different treatment options for replacing all teeth in a dental arch. These options range in cost from about $2000 to $30,000, and they produce a variety of levels of comfort and chewing ability.
Traditional dentures are removable prostheses that involve a gum-colored acrylic base that rests over the bony ridges (where the teeth were) . The base contains a set of plastic or porcelain teeth, and these teeth come in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes to create a natural-looking smile.
Traditional dentures do not attach to the jaws in any way, but instead rely on a suction effect between the gum tissues and the acrylic base. They also require extension of the acrylic base into the vestibules (the areas between the lips, cheeks, tongue and jaw ridges).
Implant-supported dentures combine the removable prosthesis of traditional dentures with the ability to attach into the jawbone via dental implants. Implant-supported dentures have connectors that create a stable attachment to the implant’s abutments. This differs from traditional dentures by providing retention through the implant connectors without having to rely on any suction.
These dentures still require removal for cleaning like traditional dentures, and aside from the implant attachment, they are very close in design.
Implant-Supported Crowns and Bridges
It is possible to restore all of the missing teeth in a dental arch with multiple dental implants supporting individual crowns (like single teeth) or bridges connecting multiple teeth. This option requires a significant amount of healthy jawbone, and it allows the patient to have teeth that are not all connected to each other.
All on Four Implant Prosthesis
An all on four prosthesis replaces all missing teeth in a dental arch with just four dental implants. This prosthesis uses precisely angled and positioned implants to stabilize and support a “denture” or full arch of teeth. Your dentists attaches this prosthesis to the implants and removes it once per year for cleaning. You do not remove it at home.
What are the Cosmetic Considerations of Replacing All Teeth?
When replacing all of the teeth, there are several important cosmetic considerations. The shape of replacement teeth inside the mouth affects the appearance of the entire face. People who are missing teeth for some time often suffer from a sunken appearance to the face. The face appears shorter in height and has more wrinkles.
By adding teeth to the mouth, we can fill in sunken cheeks, improve the height of the face by opening the jaws, and reducing wrinkles by firming and tightening the skin.
Some of the teeth replacement options cause more noticeable outward appearance changes than others. For example, a traditional or implant-supported denture can better fill in sunken cheeks because they contain a thick acrylic extension into the area between the cheeks and jawbone ridge. But if someone does not have sunken cheeks, these teeth replacement options may cause an unnatural “full” appearance to the lips and cheeks.
All on four dental implant prosthetics require a certain amount of vertical height for their restoration. This may be a good cosmetic option for those without sunken cheeks but with a loss of facial height. They do not extend outward into the cheeks like dentures do, so they are a better option for someone with already full lips and cheeks.
Dental implant crowns and bridges are a great way to restore missing teeth. However, they require healthy jawbone and gum tissue for the most natural appearance. In some patients who have suffered from past gum disease, this might lead to the appearance of long teeth with dark spaces between them. This option does not replace missing gum tissue as the other options do.
How Can I Know Which Option is Best for Me?
One of the most important aspects of good cosmetic dentistry is it being customized for your unique appearance and desires. There is no one-size-fits-all “best” teeth replacement option. At Designer Smiles, we pride ourselves on creating beautiful custom smiles for each individual who seeks out our care.
For that reason, the best way to know which option will meet your cosmetic goals is to have a consultation with Dr. Ann. She has restored thousands of beautiful smiles using the various treatment options discussed here. She will assess your unique situation and help you select the option that will give you the most natural looking teeth for you. Someone else may have achieved their smile goals with all on four, and that may be a good option. You might need additional lip and cheek support from a larger prosthetic. Dr. Ann will help you choose the best option.
More Questions about Replacing Your Teeth?
Call Designer Smiles today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ann. She can answer any questions you have about teeth replacement options and help you choose the one that will give you the most natural-looking smile.