By: Ashley Walker
Missing a tooth and looking for a temporary fix until you can get something better? A lot of patients have resorted to Essix partial dentures with hopes they will withstand their day to day activity until they can replace the teeth with a flipper or dental implant. As of late, the Essix treatment has become popular. Though the question still remains are they really beneficial or will they later be found to be troublesome?
Essix brand offers a removable retainer made completely of transparent plastic. With a tooth missing, these retainers “replace” the tooth with a tooth painted on the retainer. With this, it appears that the tooth has been replaced whenever the retainer is used without there actually being a replacement in that area. Though this may be comfortable to put on or take off and works well, it does not completely replace the tooth or chewing ability. Unlike a flipper, the retainer covers all teeth just as Invisalign, with a fake tooth painted onto the plastic. The pricing of an Essix retainer can range from $75-$100 and can have the false tooth shaded by a regular dentist within moments of your purchasing.
Though the retainer may be a good short term option, the treatment should only be used temporarily. It is not safe to chew with retainers for a long time. When a tooth falls out or is pulled, the bone under the gum becomes vulnerable to bone resorption and may start to deteriorate in that area. Retainers, just like flippers, do not help maintain any bone. Patients who continually wear the retainers may find an increase in gum sensitivity, decay, and additional tooth loss. Though it may sound like a good, inexpensive treatment; wearing an Essix retainer will be a great short-term solution, but absolutely will need to be replaced by something else.