Replacing Missing Teeth

Missing teeth can not only cause insecurity but also can cause harm to your other teeth. When you have a missing tooth, it is common to overcompensate by chewing on the opposite side of your mouth or by putting extra pressure on other teeth. Teeth like to touch, so when a tooth or several teeth are missing, surrounding teeth will shift in hopes of filling that space. Your bite will become misaligned, and chewing can become difficult or very uncomfortable. Luckily, there are options for replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile!

A dental implant, or tooth implant, is the number one option when replacing a tooth. A titanium screw is placed beneath your gum and heals to the bone in your jaw in the area of the missing tooth, taking the place of your missing tooth’s root. Once the implant has had time to heal into your bone, your dentist in Lincoln, NE will place a crown on top of the implant. The crown will look, feel, and act as a natural tooth.

Dental implants are a lifetime solution. Not only is nearly everybody a good candidate but also implant problems are almost nonexistent. Because several factors affect implant preparation, the cost of a dental implant varies. We would love to discuss this option and see if dental implants are the right solution for you.

Image of "before" a missing tooth was replaced by a dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.
Before Implant Placed
photo courtesy of Dr. Bernie Villadiego
Image of "after" a missing tooth was replaced by a dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.
After Dental Implant Placed
photo courtesy of Dr. Bernie Villadiego
Image of Dr. Kelly O'Hara, a dentist in Lincoln, NE, discussing teeth replacement options with a patient at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

If you have one or more missing teeth, a fixed bridge may be a good option for you to regain a healthy, functional smile. A fixed bridge is cemented into place and supported by the teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth. Your dentist in Lincoln, NE, will replace your missing tooth with a pontic (fake) tooth. We match the shape and color of your surrounding teeth to provide a bridge that looks and functions like your original teeth.

The cost of a dental bridge is less than the cost of a dental implant, which is why some people choose the more affordable bridge option. However, bridges don’t preserve the bone structure of your jaw like a natural tooth or implant does so you may experience receding bone structure. Regular checkups and monitoring can help to preserve your newly gained oral health.

Image of an implant dental bridge for which our dentist in Lincoln, NE can use to replace missing teeth.

Implant-supported or implant-retained dental bridges are a hybrid of implants and dental bridges. They are an optimal choice for people missing several teeth or who need multiple teeth extracted. The cost of several dental implants may not be feasible, but two implants combined with a bridge may be more manageable.

Implants are for people with missing teeth or with teeth that need to be extracted. With today’s technology, just about anyone can get implants.

Sometimes your dentist in Lincoln, NE, must take preliminary steps to prepare you for your implants. These steps may include adding bone to the jawbone where the bone structure has been lost or lifting a sinus to make room for the dental implant.

We’re fortunate to have Dr. Kelly O’Hara as part of our team. She can help you make an excellent choice for your health, your smile, and your budget.

Image of Dr. Kelly O'Hara, a dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

Dr. Kelly O’Hara has extensive experience with dental implants. She has had advanced training and over ten years of experience with dental implants. This includes multiple continuing education classes on implants and many restored implants.

Basic Information to help you make an Informed Decision!
Used to bridge the gap created by missing teeth.
The number one long-term solution to replace missing teeth.
Longevity7 – 30 yearsLifetime
Preservation of healthy adjacent teethNoYes
Transmission of force to:Adjacent TeethBone
Prevent bone loss & preserve the facial appearancePartiallyYes
A requirement for daily flossingYesYes
Risk of developing cavitiesYesNo
Accelerated loss of adjacent teethYesNo
The time needed to complete the procedure2 – 3 Weeks3 – 6 Months

Patients who have one missing tooth can benefit from this procedure and if the adjacent teeth next to the missing tooth require extra support, it can also be beneficial. If you choose a bridge, some bone will still be lost in areas and you may develop cavities. 

Patients who have one missing tooth, especially a chewing tooth, can benefit from this procedure. Rarely, a patient may not be a good candidate for the successful placement of implants and on occasion, additional surgery may be needed to ensure adequate bone support to the implants being placed.

The cost of a single implant is around $3500-$4000 and a 3 unit bridge is around $3300 without any dental insurance coverage. If your specific insurance policy does cover part of your treatment, the cost may be lower for those procedures.

When teeth are removed, bone loss occurs naturally. Over time, this leads to a sunken-in appearance to the face. If teeth have been missing for an extended time, replacing them using dental implants may not be an option due to lack of bone support for the implants. The only way to prevent bone loss after removing teeth is to place implants in the bone. This keeps the bone active. Wearing traditional dentures does nothing to preserve bone. If you have dentures or are interested in high-end dentures or total-tooth replacement options, you can contact our office for a consultation to learn more about your options.

A hybrid prosthesis is the option that provides the most natural chewing function and aesthetic appearance for patients. Your dentist in Lincoln, NE will work closely with the surgical team to design a prosthetic that rests on 4-6 dental implants that the oral surgeon places in the bone. This type of tooth replacement is non-removable, giving patients the freedom to eat and chew without a denture slipping out of place. When patients choose a hybrid prosthesis, they leave the surgeon’s office with teeth the same day.  This option preserves bone and lasts for many years with good maintenance.

An implant-retained over-denture is a great option for patients who cannot do a hybrid prosthesis. This type of prosthetic requires 2-4 implants to be placed in the bone. A custom-designed removable denture then attaches to these implants, creating a secure fit that allows patients to chew more comfortably than they could in a traditional denture. You and your Lincoln, NE dentist will design a smile that not only gives you superior function and aesthetic results to a traditional denture, but also helps to preserve bone and prevent loss of support for facial structures.

Every patient should be well-educated on all of the options that exist for replacing all of their teeth so they can decide which one will work well for them. Each option has pros and cons. An excellent option for a denture is a custom-designed implant-retained over-denture due to it’s ability to preserve bone and provide good chewing function to patients.

A cosmetic denture is custom-designed by your dentist in Lincoln, NE through a series of appointments to create a precise fit and most aesthetic result possible. When patients choose a cosmetic denture, they receive an additional set of dentures to wear during healing immediately after teeth are removed, so they are never without teeth. Once the bone has finished healing after tooth removal, subsequent appointments with your Lincoln, NE dentist are for creating a precise, beautiful result. The only negative aspect of cosmetic dentures is the lack of insurance coverage due to multiple appointments.

Economy dentures are covered by most insurance plans, which makes them much more affordable for patients. Typically these dentures are made in one to two appointments after teeth are removed. Some patients are happy with their economy dentures, but more often than not, patients experience changes in the bone levels, making the fit of economy dentures less comfortable. We partner with Affordable Dentures and UNMC College of Dentistry for those who are interested in economy dentures.

Image of Dr. Kelly O'Hara, a dentist in Lincoln, NE, at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

The information on this page was written by Dr. Kelly O’Hara.

This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I perform gentle dentistry for the entire family and focus on children’s dentistry, extreme smile makeovers, cosmetic dentistry and placing mercury-free dental fillings. Moreover, I also want to provide a better quality of life to patients who have lost their teeth by making implant retained dentures. I have many goals, but one that is very important to many of us: to keep dentistry affordable by taking all of the primary dental plans and by also offering dental payment plans to patients that seek them. I am fully committed to making sure all patients feel comfortable while in my care.”

You can schedule with this dentist in Lincoln, NE, or her partners, online 24/7 at a Lincoln Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Eagle, Walton, Weeping Water, Avoca, and many more!

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