Replacing Missing Teeth

Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and eating choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. You may also experience headaches and/or jaw pain.

Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting jawbone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are more easily placed when teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more complex as time passes. The great news? Implants act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Your dentist and the implant surgeon will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning tooth replacement.

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Tooth Replacement Options

You can select from a number of different options to replace your missing teeth – from temporary to long-lasting solutions.  A good candidate is anyone missing one or more teeth, or who is unhappy with their dentures. Age is not a factor; however, smoking, diseases such as diabetes, and radiation therapy to the area, have been shown to lower the success rate of implant placement. X-rays of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether they will accommodate implants. Detailed x-rays may also be required to determine if other tests or procedures are needed to place implants properly.

An example of a dental fixed bridge

Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge is a connected set of replacement teeth. For support, it is cemented into position on top of the teeth adjacent to the empty space. The protective outer layer of these teeth is usually removed or ground down prior to attaching the bridge.

A sample of a removable retainer with a plastic tooth known as a flipper


A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper”.

A depiction of a sturdy partial denture cast in metal and plastic

Metal Partial

A less fragile option is a removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic. It is held in place by wire clips. A removable partial denture can be removed and reinserted when required by the patient.

A representation of a full denture for the entire lower jaw


The most common solution, for people missing all teeth in one or both jaws are complete dentures. Some people adapt well to dentures. Others find them uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape.

A visual of a permanent dental implant to replace missing teeth

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution. They form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, implants can last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable, and comfortable for almost any patient.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

There are several reasons: A dental bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.


Oral Surgery Associates of Milwaukee, S.C.

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Patient Testimonial

I had used another provider earlier for implants. Insurance changes brought me here to Dr. Kortebein. What an awesome surgeon he is. I have had two implants by him, and they've both been as close to painless as possible. He is the best of the best, and I am so happy to have found him. I have used all three locations, for my convenience, and have found the staff at all three to be incredible. I won't use anyone else.

- David S

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Patient Testimonial

Had an implant placed by Dr. Kimmel today. Entire staff was incredibly kind and helpful. Dr. Kimmel was warm, kind, professional, efficient and thoroughly explained everything he was doing. Would absolutely recommend!

- Kate H

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Patient Testimonial

Dr. Kimmel is the best. Like, the very best. I called today because I am in a LOT of pain from a procedure yesterday. I wish the rest of his staff cared like he does, then maybe they would have returned my phone call this afternoon and maybe I wouldn’t have to go to the emergency room.

- Kurt F

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