The Types Of Artificial Devices And Teeth Used In Full Mouth Reconstruction

A dentist may use several different types of prosthetic teeth and devices during a full mouth reconstruction. What they recommend will, at least partially, depend on the state of each part of your mouth. Here's a guide to the different types of devices that may be used as part of a full mouth reconstruction.

Veneers: Giving Stained Teeth a New Look

Veneers are used to improve the appearance of stained or discolored teeth. They don't replace teeth but instead are affixed to the front of teeth. They can be made to look brighter and more uniform than your actual teeth, thus improving your smile.

Your dentist will only use veneers on teeth that look unsightly but are in good physical condition, because these are purely aesthetic devices. Additionally, veneers are usually installed only on the front teeth. Molars in the back of your mouth typically aren't visible, so it matters less if they're stained or discolored.

A veneer may be put over a single tooth, or it might cover several adjacent teeth.

Dentures: Removable Artificial Teeth

Dentures are a removable type of artificial teeth. They may be used as a stop-gap measure, until a non-removable device can be put in place. Alternatively, dentures might be used as a long-term solution if cost is a major concern. Dentures are often one of the most affordable solutions for people who are missing multiple teeth.

Most of the time, dentures are used where multiple teeth are missing. In fact, they can even be used if all teeth are missing. Because dentures are set on the gums and held in place from below, they can be used to replace missing teeth in any part of the mouth -- the back, middle or front -- and their support structure won't be noticeable.

Bridges: Artificial Teeth Attached to Adjacent Teeth

Bridges contain one or more artificial teeth. These artificial teeth are affixed to adjacent natural teeth via a bridge, hence the name. The bridge is a metal device that permanent device that secures the artificial teeth to the nearest natural ones. The metal of a bridge is often visible if one looks closely, so these are typically used in the middle section and back of the mouth -- where metal is less noticeable.

A bridge might hold one or several artificial teeth in place, but it must have a strong natural tooth next to the spot where a tooth is missing.

Implants: Artificial Teeth Anchored to the Jawbone

Implants are metal posts that are secured to the jawbone. As Colgate explains, there are two types of dental implants. Endosteal implants are metal posts that get inserted directly into the jawbone. Subperiosteal implants are metal frames that are fitted onto the jaw, but they don't actually penetrate the bone.

Once an implant has been surgically installed, and the gum tissue around it has recovered, the implant can hold one or more artificial teeth. The teeth are typically screwed onto the implant. Because they're technically a separate piece from the implant, the teeth can be replaced if they become damaged without taking out the entire metal post or frame. Artificial teeth that are put on an implant, however, are meant to last for a long time.

Because implants require surgically installing a metal post or frame, they're one of the most expensive and involved options used in reconstruction. In a couple cases, however, they're the best option. First, if there aren't any strong natural teeth to secure a bridge to, an implant may be the only permanent prosthetic device that can be installed. Second, because implants secure artificial teeth from below, they're invisible once the artificial teeth is put in place. This makes implants great for replacing missing teeth in the front of the mouth -- where a metal bridge would be noticeable.