9 months ago
Missing Teeth Replacement Options
A missing tooth could make other teeth move to try and fill in the gaps, resulting to tilted teeth. The once tight spaces in between teeth will now have visible gaps. When you eat, food could get trapped in between these gaps, increasing the risk of several tooth and gum problems. Missing teeth could also affect the way you look and speak because these could make your facial muscles sag. Luckily, a dentist could help replace these in the form of replacement teeth. There are several types of replacement teeth options and some of these are dentures, bridges and implants. Which of these is the best? Let’s discuss these one by one and see their pros and cons.
Dentures are removable replacement teeth. These can be used to replace several or a full set of teeth. Partial denture as its name implies will only take the space of some of your missing teeth. False teeth for partial dentures are held by metal base or a flexible plastic, which will be supported by the remaining teeth to keep it in place. A full denture in comparison is for people who have lost all their teeth in either the lower or the upper jaw. For this, a plastic plate is fitted with porcelain or plastic teeth. What’s great about dentures? They are easy to clean and cheap. You may need to visit the dentist more than once though for refitting. Your new dentures will never feel like your original teeth and it could take a while getting used to.
If missing teeth are adjacent to one another and have strong teeth in between these, your dentist may recommend that you get a bridge. A bridge is a fixed prosthetic denture that is attached to supporting teeth with the use of cement. This could either be made of metal or plastic, or could also be a combination of both. The bridge consists of two crowns on the ends, with false teeth permanently attached in between. The crown on both ends are fitted and bonded to supporting teeth. The supporting teeth are trimmed in order to accommodate the crowns of the bridge. The advantage of bridges is that you will not have to worry about teeth falling out since these are permanently glued to natural teeth. Since supporting teeth are cut, they are not always the ideal option in all cases. There are bridges that may not require the abutment of supporting teeth. These have flaps that can be attached at the back of natural teeth.
Among the three options, dental implants are considered the most long term and predictable option. They are also natural looking and feel like original teeth. A dental implant is made from a metal rod, preferably titanium or titanium alloy. This is fixed in the jawbone where over a course of several months, is expected to fuse with it. The metal will then be fixed with dentures or bridges. It may be considered the best looking replacement teeth but not everyone may be a perfect candidate for it. Dental implants are done with a surgical procedure. The patient must have healthy gums AND BONE in order for this to be successful. Those who have dental health problems may need to undergo treatment before being allowed to take the procedure. Smokers may have compromised wound healing and therefore a slightly lower success rate, so it’s best to kick the habit!
BDS (Hons.) MJDF RCS (Eng), MClinDent (FRP Lond) FICOI, MSc (Dental Implantology)
BDS (Lond) MJDF RCS (Eng)